MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday apologized for initially reporting that ten people died in an explosion in Hilongos, Leyte on Wednesday evening.
Taguiwalo also apologized to Presidential Spokespeson Ernesto Abella, who ended up relaying the information to the media.
"Pasensiya na Usec. Abella dahil ala-una ng madaling araw ng ipinaabot sa akin ng regional director ng Leyte ang nangyaring pambobomba at ang initial na ulat ay may sampung patay. Hindi ho totoo 'yan. Kung nakuryente ho tayo, ako ho ang may kasalanan, hindi ang ating spokesperson,” Taguiwalo said in a news conference in Malacañang.
“Wala hong namatay pero may mga 34 casualties. Nasa ospital, sampu na ang nakalabas at nasa ospital 'yung iba pa. Iyong ating DSWD field officer ho ay naroroon ngayon, handang magbigay tayo ng tulong. May 5,000 pesos na financial assistance tayo sa mga nasugatan at sasagutin ho ng departamento 'yung kanilang hospital bills."
The 34 injured were attending festivities at a plaza in Hilongos when the bomb went off.
Two 81-mm mortars were used in the 9 p.m. explosion, said Senior Superintendent Franco Simborio, chief of the Leyte police.
The bombs, he added, were planted near a boxing ring where townspeople were waiting for the start of a boxing match.
The 34 victims were brought to different hospitals in Hilongos, Maasin and Tacloban in Leyte.