Duterte to visit Cotabato City despite bombings, Palace says

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2019 02:57 AM

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte pushed through with his scheduled visit to Cotabato City, despite the series of bombings that rocked the area hours before his arrival, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said told reporters. 

President Duterte was set to distribute Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) to farmer beneficiaries in the city, Tuesday afternoon.

“He will distribute land certificates and then visit the venues where the bombing took place. I don’t know which of the two but one of them,” Panelo said. 

The Palace says it does not see the bombings connected in any way with Duterte’s planned visit. 

“Definitely not, parang ang teenager ang nabasa ko doon sa isang report, teenager ang pagpasabog, grupo ng teenagers. Hindi naman alam nila na darating si Presidente roon eh,” Panelo said.

“Baka more on the reaction sa BARMM. Diba kasi may dating grupo tapos mawawalan ng trabaho yung previous entity that will be replaced by BARMM. We don’t know. Actually ngayon nag-iispeculate lang,” he added. 

Panelo earlier condemned the bombings in Cotabato and Maguindanao and urged the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious persons to the police.

At least 22 people were wounded in the different blasts on Sunday, just days before the government lifts martial law in Mindanao due to the supposed "weakening of the terrorist and extremist rebellion."