DAVAO CITY — An explosion rocked a crowded night market at Davao City late Friday night, leaving at least 12 dead and more than 60 injured, authorities confirmed.
"We confirm the deaths of at least 12 persons and injuring about 60. We haven't known yet the cause or reason at this stage, but we cannot say yet on what caused the explosion," Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a television interview.
Philippine National Police Region 11 Director C/Supt. Manuel Gaerlan however, said that two other civilians died while being treated at a nearby hospital.
President Rodrigo Duterte has already arrived at the area and is now conducting a closed door meeting.
Witnesses at the area said that a loud explosion was heard at a street massage area at the Roxas Night Market at around 11 PM.
Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said that initial eyewitness reports claim that there were three people seen wearing uniforms of massage therapists, but they cannot confirm yet as to the caused the explosion.
The younger Duterte also confirmed that they received confidential information that there are threats to the city two days ago.
"We received confidential information … there are texts claiming that there will be attacks in Davao and General Santos," the vice mayor said.
"I cannot exactly say what is the confidential information," he added.
Many of those who were at the area sought refuge at nearby Ateneo de Davao University, prompting a school lockdown.
Those injured and the fatalities, on the other hand, were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao.
"There is no exact cause yet on the explosion. The police is still investigating. We won't give any details by now and we want to avoid further anxiety," Abella said.
The younger Duterte said that while a city-wide lockdown following the incident isn't necessary, the Davao City Police Office immediately ordered for night bars to be closed and placing at least 2 checkpoints per station in place.
The blast comes after the police force thwarted a reported assassination plot against President Duterte, who usually flies home to Davao City every weekend.
The Islamist terror group Abu Sayyaf on late Wednesday night also vowed to wage a war against the President.
The incident happened just days before Duterte makes his first foreign trip before the Association of South East Asian Nations summit at Vientiane, Laos as the country's new head of state.
The younger Duterte, meanwhile, appealed for prayers following the incident.