ZAMBOANGA CITY – A bag abandoned along the National Highway in Divisoria caused panic among locals Friday morning amid tightened security under the martial rule in Mindanao.
The piece of luggage, wrapped with packaging tape, was left a few meters away from a military checkpoint.
In order to ensure the safety of motorists and bystanders, police blocked the road, causing heavy traffic.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team dispatched to the scene found no traces of bomb components.
After declaring the bag safe, they determined that it might have been empty.
Police are now trying to determine the identity of the person who left the bag in the area. However, they are not discounting the possibility that the luggage was left purposely to sow fear among Zamboanga City residents.
Authorities encouraged residents to remain vigilant and to stay calm amid President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law over Mindanao due to firefights between government forces and the Maute group in Marawi City.