Davao: Aleast 12 people died and 60 injured when a bomb ripped through the heart of a busy market in Davao City in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown on Friday.
Terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has now been blamed for the attack.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it was suspected the attack had been launched in retaliation to the intensified operations against the group.
He said: “While nobody has come up to own the act we can only assume that this was perpetrated by the terrorist group Abu Sayaff that has suffered heavy casualties in Jolo in the past weeks.
“We have predicted this and have warned our troops accordingly but the enemy is also adept at using the democratic space granted by our constitution to move around freely and unimpeded to sow terror.”
He also said the public to remaon “calm but alert and vigilant”.
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said. “There are many elements who are angry at our president and our government,” he said. “We are not ruling out the possibility that they might be responsible for this but it is too early to speculate.”
His election has prompted a spike in drug-related killings, with more than 2,000 deaths since he took office on 30 June, nearly half of them in police operations.