3 Sep 2016

Blast in President's home town kills 12

12:21 pm on 3 September 2016

A bomb has exploded at a market in Davao in the southern Philippines, killing at least twelve people and injuring several dozen more.

Police investigators collect evidence through injured and dead people lying on the ground, at the site of an explosion at a night market in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao.

Police investigators collect evidence through injured and dead people lying on the ground, at the site of an explosion at a night market in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao. Photo: AFP

The blast tore through a street market outside the high-end Marco Polo hotel.

Davao is the home city of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who was formerly the city's mayor and was in town at the time.

The blast ripped through a busy night market the president often visits.

Earlier in the day Mr Duterte had shrugged off rumours of a plot to assassinate him.

"We were having a meeting and we heard a very huge explosion," said John Rhyl Sialmo III, 20, a student at the nearby Ateneo de Davao University.

A photo taken from a mobile phone shows a general view of the site of an explosion at a night market in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao, Philippines

A photo taken from a mobile phone shows a general view of the site. Photo: AFP

"The first thing we thought was 'it's a bomb'.

"The area where there was the explosion was a massage parlour. So we saw these men and women from that place in their uniform, they went to the school lobby to seek help."

Regional police chief Manuel Guerlan said a ring of checkpoints had been thrown around the city's exit points.

"A thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the explosion," he said.

"We call on all the people to be vigilant at all times."

Mr Duterte is hugely popular in Davao, having served as its mayor for more than 22 years before his stunning national election win in May.

He won a landslide victory for the presidency this year promising a war on drugs that would kill at least 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office.

Since Mr Duterte came to power in May approximately 2000 drug users and dealers have died in extra-judicial killings.

The Philippine government is now considering a plan to test all new college and university students for illegal drug use before allowing them to begin their studies.

The proposal calls for students to undergo compulsory drug tests before entering college or university next year.

It's a plan that could affect millions of young people.

- Reuters / BBC

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