Sara Duterte-Carpio, the mayor of Davao, Philippines, has announced a cash reward of 2m Philippine peso (£32,262, $42,975) for anyone who delivers the perpetrators of the recent Davao blast alive. The mayor also sacked the city police chief and the head of the Task Force Davao on Monday, 5 September, and apologised for the security lapses that allowed the attackers to succeed in their mission.
The Friday (2 September) night blast, claimed by militant group Abu Sayyaf, left at least 15 people dead and 70 wounded. Police are hunting for three suspects, one male and two females based on eye witness accounts.
Duterte-Carpio, who took over the reins of the city in June from her father President Rodrigo Duterte, had earlier announced a cash reward of 1m Philippine peso for providing information on the perpetrators of the blast. However, she said that an additional 1m Philippine peso will be paid for catching the culprits alive.
"We will also give [another] P1 million if you can deliver the suspect to us handcuffed and alive. I would like to emphasize that...we need him alive because we have to talk to him," the Philippines Inquirer quoted the mayor as saying following a visit to some of the victims of the attack.
Explaining the removal of the two top officials, the mayor said the move was not because of the duo's qualifications or abilities. "It's not about their qualifications, it's about me. I took what happened personally, there will be strained relationship between us if they continue to stay in their posts," Duterte-Carpio reportedly said.
She, however, did not announce the names of the replacements for Task Force Davao commander Col Henry Robinson Jr Robinson, who assumed the post in May and City Police Office director Sr Supt Michael John Dubria, who took up the position in June.
Meanwhile, the Islamic rebel group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which is a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, said that the bomb blast at Roxas Avenue could have been aimed at diverting the attention of the authorities from the Sulu Province.
"The terror group (Abu Sayyaf) has its back against the wall and had to divert attention from Sulu to Davao," Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson for the rebel group, reportedly said. He denied that the group had anything to do with the attack and insisted that they sympathise with the victims and want the culprits punished.
Following President Duterte's order, close to 8,000 soldiers are hunting down Abu Sayyaf fighters in their lairs in Sulu and have so far killed almost 30.