MANILA – A blast occurred along a road in Maguindanao on Tuesday afternoon as a convoy of journalists covering the conflict involving Moro rebels was about to pass by.
ABS-CBN News reporter Ron Gagalac said the convoy was passing along a road in Mamasapano town when the blast occurred past 2 p.m..
No one was reported injured in the explosion.
"Binabagtas namin ito kanina nang may biglang sumabog sa tabihan namin. Mabuti na lamang walang tinamaan sa mga crew ng ABS-CBN at mga kasamang iba pang mediamen," Gagalac told ANC.
"Pero ang layo siguro namin sa pagsabog sa kalsada ay wala pang 100 metro," he added.
Gagalac said the group of reporters came from Ampatuan town and was bound for Rajah Buayan to check on the condition of the residents displaced by the week-long fighting between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The BIFF a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) opposed to the peace process.
At least 52 of its members were allegedly killed in the military offensive, which erupted right after the government and MILF signed the final annex to a peace deal seeking to end the decades-long insurgency in Mindanao that has killed thousands of people.
Gagalac said the members of the media tried to look for a safer spot after the explosion out of fear of another blast.
"Bigla na lang kaming tumigil at nag kanya-kanya kami ng cover dahil ang mas pinangangambahan namin ay ang secondary explosion. Ito yung mas delikado dahil tinatarget nito ang mga nagkukumpol-kumpol na tao," he said.
Last Saturday, February 1, an explosion occurred in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, wounding TV5 reporter Jeff Caparas, cameraman Adrian Bulatao, four civilians and four soldiers.