NORTH Cotabato officials have offered a bounty of P200,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects in the New Year’s Eve bombing that killed four people and injured 33 others in the M’lang public market, authorities said on Friday.
Mayor Joselito Piñol said the town is offering a reward of P100,000 for witnesses to help the authorities identify suspects even as the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front denied involvement in the bombing.
North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza also offered an additional P100,000 to the cash reward with the pledge that all information will be treated as confidential to protect the identity of the informant.
“Please do not be afraid to come to open and share with us any information so that we can take immediate actions to give justice to those who have died and injured,” Piñol said.
Piñol had earlier blamed the BIFF for the blast, but BIFF spokesman Abu Misrie Mama denied their group had anything to do with the blast, which happened Tuesday afternoon when hundreds of residents were making last-minute purchases for the New Year’s Eve celebration.
Piñol said he tagged the BIFF because that was the claim of a suspect in another bombing, identified as Abdul Aziz Glang, who confesses involvment in the Nov. 23 bombing of a billiard hall in the same town which killed three people and injured more than 20 others.
Sr. Supt. Danilo Peralta, chief of the North Cotabato provincial police, confirmed that the police are in custody of Glang, who is allegedly involved in the billiard hall bombing, but declined to elaborate because of continuing operations.
“For now I cannot disclosed his participation. But we are now preparing complaint of multiple attempted murder and murder to the suspected bomber,” Peralta said.
Peralta said M’lang is only one of several towns, including Matalam, Kabacan, Pikit and Midsayap, that are prone to bombings and that is the reason why lawmen are usually on high alert during the last quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, North Cotabato Governor Mendoza urged local officials to step up security measures to prevent similar incidents as she visited some blast victims.
“I am asking the local officials of Mlang to strengthen their resolve in protecting our people from further barbarism. This act has no place in a civilized society. I reiterate our firm stand against any form of violence on our people,” Mendoza said.