Deadly Mall Blast Shocks Filipinos

Here’s my roundup as posted on Global Voices:
Citizen journalism and citizen punditry is alive in the Philippine blogosphere, and we saw this within minutes of a deadly blast at the popular Glorietta mall in Makati City, the country’s financial capital.

As of posting time, eight have been confirmed killed while 120 others were being treated for various types of injuries.

Manuel L. Quezon III rounded up first-hand accounts, initial reactions and updates. Also taking note of furious blogging about the bombing was Blog Addicts. In fact, Inquirer came out with a special site on the incident.

Photos of the crime scene or disaster area taken and posted by Disney Cute Land are now all over the internet, including the frontpage of the country’s most popular news website.

Videos courtesy of Gambit01 who was at Glorietta could be viewed here.

My Life was there when it happened:

It was just an ordinary friday afternoon and we were assigned to man the booth at Glorietta. Its actually located beside the Havin a Baby store at Glorietta 1. We were scheduled to man the booth from 10am – 3pm since another group would be manning from 3pm to closing time. Around 12:30pm, Didith ate her lunch and left Jacy and I behind. When she got back after eating, Jacy said she was still too full to eat while I was really planning on eating once I go home.Around 1:30pm we were saying that we need to give away all of our fliers before the next group comes in. Then I distinctly remember I was seating on the couch facing the Glorietta 2 side when I heard a big boom. Together with the big boom was an earth shattering like earthquake. Then in just a couple of seconds, I saw something fell from the ceiling. It was a big chunk but it looked like it didn’t weigh much. Then everybody started running as fast as they could towards our direction

Calls for prayers came out from citizens, including pas_la_truie. Babble On says:

let’s also pray for the long term implications of this event. Remember we have the Human Security Act now in effect in the Philippines. Plus there’s a lot of political chaos going on, with accusations of bribery, impeachments complaints, calls for resignation and large scale corruption charges being hurled everywhere. Political alliances are slowly breaking, and the last thing we need is a “terrorist attack,” if it is one, to splinter the remaining stability we have.

For mallrats and those with fond memories of Glorietta. the incident boggles the mind, says Akomismo:

A bomb hit Glorietta 2 while I was ending my class with Rosal today. For me, G2 was where I used to get my comics (Filbar’s) and the last thing I bought in that area was an R2-D2 Mr. Potato Head I gave to a friend for her birthday. The store where I bought that toy is now gone.

Akomismo also shared that his mom was there and, thankfully, got spared:

Mom was there when it happened. She was packing her stuff in the Gold’s Gym locker room when the bomb hit. For her the sound is unforgettable — just imagine an entire hallway of glass shattering and stone breaking both punctuated by high-pitched wails and unadulterated screams. Dust from the debris found its way to the locker rooms about 150m away from the site of the blast. Thankfully she made it out unharmed and relaxed despite being incredibly afraid. She is proud to discover that she can remain calm awhile everyone else went into a frenzied panic. These are the days I am inclined to believe in a God and His angels; regardless I am thankful.

Tragic, yes, but The Four-eyed Journal is a but suspicious about the bombing and begs answers to some questions:

Why was there no reports or warnings or intelligence alerts that we get to recieve every now and then during the height of the call for the GMA to resign and coup rumors to overthrow her administration?The government’s intelligence units were so quick to issue warnings of terror alerts or coup attempts or plots to destabilize the government last year. But now that something horrible did happened, why is the government acting too calm and collected, it’s as equally disturbing as the bombing itself?

What happened to all that training and assistance, particularly anti-terror related training, exercises, assistance the AFP got from the US military?

Is this another ploy of the administration to distract the public from the recent wave of scandals that has once more ‘exploded’ into its face? Or is it a signal to all its opponents and critics that this administration would not go down without a fight?

The suspicions have become widespread that The Warrior Lawyer explains:

This may be a case of the tail wagging the dog, as Malacanang operatives are supposedly looking for ways to redirect public attention away from the latest shenanigans involving President Arroyo and her immediate circle. The Makati Business Club has labeled the incident a possible “diversionary tactic”. Sen. Trillanes warns against Arroyo’s setting the stage for a declaration of emergency rule. These reactions were prompted by the obvious question: Who has most to gain in the immediate term by this fomenting an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty?

People are now looking intensely at the investigation and staying vigilant over possible maneuvers by the President to use the incident to justify emergency rule or martial law.