Doctors among dead in southern Philippine blast

Featured South East Asia - July 29th, 2013

The number of fatalities in a blast at a restaurant in the Philippines’ southern port city of Cagayan De Oro, where most victims were medical practitioners and representatives, has risen to eight after a doctor died on Monday.

Six people were killed, including two doctors as well as local politician Roldan Lagbas, when an improvised explosive device struck Kyla’s Bistro, a popular restaurant inside the Limketkai Center, late Friday evening, reports AFP.

The latest casualty was Dr. Marciano Jun Agustin, who died Monday while inside the intensive care unit at a Cagayan De Oro hospital, city police chief Senior Supt. Graciano Mijares said.

On Sunday, Reynaldo Dalupan, a Unilab medical representative, also died.

The powerful blast broke glass panels, upturned tables and chairs, and damaged parked cars up to 30 meters away, reports said.

More than 40 people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, said regional military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Leo Bongosia. Two of the wounded were in critical condition.

Hundreds of doctors and pharmaceutical salesmen were in Cagayan De Oro on the main southern island of Mindanao for a national convention of lung-disease specialists at hotel near the restaurant when the explosion occurred.

The blast prompted the police and military to declare a heightened alert in Mindanao, which has been wracked by a decades-old Muslim rebellion, although authorities have yet to determine the motive for the bombing.

President Benigno Aquino III denounced the “act of violence” against the country’s professionals “whose mission in life is to bring about healing,” presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma told reporters in Manila.