Yesterday was a sad day for the Philippines. At around 1:30pm, Philippine Time, a bomb went of in an upscale mall in Makati, Metro Manila. The powerful bomb exploded at Glorietta 2, a mall that Feyma and I have been to a number of times. Glorietta is probably our favorite mall to visit when we are in Manila, although that is not often. Nine people were killed in the blast, with more than 100 wounded. Looking at the photos of the scene, frankly, it surprises me that only 9 died in the bombing.
An incident really goes to show that such bombings and other terrorist incidents can happen anywhere. Here in the Philippines, if you were to say that a major bombing was going to happen, virtually anybody would say that it would happen in Mindanao. But, incidents like this show that Mindanao is not the only target, and it is important for everybody to maintain a vigilant stance against possible attacks.
So far, not many details have been determined in this bombing. They don’t know yet what kind of device or materials were used in the attack, or who did it. There is speculation in the media about who is responsible, though. Basically, the media is speculating that there are only two groups that have the capability to pull off a large attack like this one.
First group that is being speculated about is the Jemaah Islamiya (JI), which is primarily based in Indonesia. JI is the group that conducted the Bali Bombings in 2001 and again a few years later (was it 2003 for the second Bali attack?). They are a group with strong ties to Al Qaeda. However, JI has weakened a lot over the last couple of years. They are much smaller now, since many of their members have been killed, or captured and jailed over the years. JI has become active in Mindanao, working in conjunction with the Abu Sayyaf here. Although they don’t have the strength that they had 5 years ago, it is believed that they still have enough resources to pull off a bombing like what we saw in Makati yesterday.
The second group that is getting speculation really surprising me. Many in the media are saying that the other group that should be looked at is the Government of the Philippines itself! I have never been big on conspiracy theory myself, and I find it extremely hard to believe that the Government would do such a bombing, killing it’s own citizens, but indeed many people are saying that it is possible. Could it be? I suppose it could, but I would need to see a lot of evidence before I could even fathom such a possibility.
Whoever is responsible, it is really sickening to see such an attack in a public area where people go with their families. Let’s hope and pray that this is an isolated incident and does not lead to a rash of similar incidents in the Philippines.