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Aspiring Teen Athletes Among Passengers Who Narrowly Escaped Death in Philippines Bus Bombing

Randy Mancini 6 Apr 26

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines  -  At least four people were hurt when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated inside a bus in Maguindanao, Southern Philippines, on Sunday.

One of the victims, teenager John Paul Capio is a member of the Sepak Takraw (foot volleyball) team. He suffered injuries to his legs and is recuperating in a local hospital. 

Capio, along with three other players, and their coach were on their way to compete in a Sepak Trakraw qualifying competition for the 12th ASEAN School Games to be held in November. 

The boy's coach, Ben Wahab, said he's very disappointed for his players because they had to withdraw from the games due to the incident. 

He expressed his disgust and anger towards the perpetrator on Facebook writing, "Look what you have done. You don't care about your innocent victims. We prepared so hard for this competition and now all our efforts are gone to waste because of your heartless actions."

But Wahab is thankful that no one was killed. He said the local authorities also found another bomb that did not detonate. 

Police said the explosion ripped through the rear of the bus while the vehicle was parked. The passengers were eating breakfast in a local restaurant nearby when the device went off. 

The Philippine Sports Commission strongly condemns the act of terrorism which ended up hurting the athletes. PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said in a statement,

"There is no justification for purposely causing pain on any person, especially ones which could possibly become fatal like this bombing," he added. "This cowardly act aimed to terrorize the public included athletes among its victims, whose budding athletic futures are unfairly dimmed by this horrible atrocity."

Neneng Macasarte, who was ambushed by Muslim rebels in 2008 causing her to be permanently disabled, shared her sentiments over the recent bombings in her province. 

In an interview with CBN News, she said, "I can feel the trauma the pain and the frustration, considering the fact we want to be known as an island of peace. I believe that the bombing was a case of extortion from lawless elements. For as long as there is social injustice and poverty, there will be insurgence in the land."

With the coming Philippine presidential and local elections in May, Macasarte appealed to the Filipino people to select leaders who are capable of leading the nation in addressing the pandemic and economic recovery. 

"God is in the midst of everything that we do, regardless of the challenges we are facing," she said. "If we have the Prince of Peace in our hearts, we can have peace and development in our country."

Meanwhile, a photo of the suspect has been released by the police. The bus's passengers said the bomb exploded a few minutes after the man went down at a nearby terminal. 

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