At least 14 killed as blast rocks night market in Davao City

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Police are still finding out what caused the blast.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Police and emergency personnel rushed to a crowded night market area in Davao City after a blast ripped through Roxas Street late Friday evening, leaving at least 14 dead.

Ten of them died on the spot, according to Chief Insp. Andrea dela Cerna, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office in Davao. The four others died at nearby Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and San Pedro Hospital.

At least 68 other individuals were injured, most of them obtained massive shrapnel wounds, SPMC Director Dr. Leopoldo Vega said.

He added 15 are still in critical condition as of Saturday morning, including a pregnant woman.

Latest developments: Deadly Davao City explosion

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of lawless violence in the entire country following the explosion, which he called an act of terrorism.

"It's not martial law but I am inviting now the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military and the police to run the country in accordance with my specifications," the President said.

"There is a crisis in this country now involving drugs, extrajudicial killings as they say, killings and there seems to be the environment of lawlessness."

Duterte will issue an official declaration to specify provisions, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told CNN Philippines.

"The exact nature and coverage and wordings will be specified in the declaration soon to be issued by the President," Aguirre said.

He added the existence of state of lawlessness has a factual basis because there is a breakdown of law and order and a clear and present danger to public safety.

The President also said his declaration will lead to setting up checkpoints across the country, and the people should also expect an increase in military presence on the streets.

He stressed there will be no curfew and no suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

Under investigation

Davao Police spokeswoman, Sr. Insp. Catherine dela Rey, said that EOD (explosive and ordnance division) teams were already in the area looking for pieces of evidence.

The Davao City Police Office still has not given any statement or details on the reported explosion.

But witnesses said they heard one loud bang before 11 p.m. followed by smoke. They said the blast came from a massage area in the middle of the street. Many of the weekend shoppers were left bloodied and scurrying around — in shock over the blast.

PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Saturday that they have three persons of interest related to the incident: one man and two women.

Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said initial reports coming to him said the blast was caused by an LPG tank, although he said this still needed to be confirmed.

Davao police called for calm after the market blast.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, PNP Region 11 Director Chief Supt. Michael Gaerlan called on the public to refrain from passing on misleading or unverified reports to avoid creating more confusion and panic.

Minors among killed

Among the dead were 12-year old Daniel Larida and his mother and one SPO1 Jay Abresin assigned at the Aviation Security Command.

Majority of the fatalities were massage therapists as the improvised explosive device was placed near the massage area along Roxas Street, a night market venue with ukay-ukay (thrift shop) and food vendors.

Another minor, 17-year old Cristyl Deculongon from North Cotabato and studying at San Pedro College here in Davao City also died on the spot.

Duterte visited the hospitals and funeral parlors early morning Saturday assuring the victims and their families that both the local and national government would shoulder all their expenses in the hospital and the funeral parlor.

DOJ to form task force to investigate

Meanwhile, Aguirre said in a press statement Saturday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will form a task force, comprised of prosecutors and National Bureau of Investigation operatives, which will conduct a fact-finding investigation of the incident as soon as possible.

"The perpetrators will be brought to justice," he said. "We are one with the President in this fight against terrorism and lawlessness. The perpetrators should be meted the corresponding punishment under our penal laws. We will cooperate with the other law enforcement agencies on this concerted effort to flesh out the persons responsible."

This is a developing story. Please refresh page for updates.

Are you in Davao City? Were you affected by the explosion? You can send us photos, experiences and video. Please tag @cnnphilippines in your Twitter posts.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Davao City-based correspondent Ben Tesiorna contributed to this report.