At least 33 people are reported injured after two bombs exploded during an amateur boxing match in a central Philippine town, government and police officials said on Thursday (29 December).

The attack took place in Hilongos town in Leyte province, about 610km (380 miles) southeast of Manila, late on Wednesday, the second on a public place in less than a week, reports suggest.

The explosions took place when people were watching the boxing match that was part of an annual Roman Catholic holiday festival. Police recovered an 81-mm mortar cartridge from outside a shopping mall in Leyte province. The homemade explosive devices were detonated remotely by a mobile phone during the bout, senior inspector Jenyzen Enciso said.

Police are yet to identify the attackers, while no group has claimed responsibility. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said a probe has been launched into the attack.

Sixteen of the wounded people were admitted to various hospitals, while the others were sent home after treatment, Reuters cited Enciso as saying.

There are conflicting reports on the number of injured. It is thought to include at least 10 children aged between seven and 15 years.

"There were two blasts ... Luckily, the second blast wasn't perfect... The bomb expert said the detonating cord wasn't long enough. It wasn't made properly. The explosion wasn't very strong," Hilongos Mayor Alberto Villahermosa told CNN Philippines.

It is thought to be first such attack in Hilongos city. The twin blasts follow a grenade attack on Christmas Eve that injured 16 people outside a Catholic church on the southern island of Mindanao. The Muslim-dominated region is believed to be home to several Islamic radicals, who are demanding independence from the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

However, there is no indication that both the attacks are linked, Filipino police said.

Philippine forces have been on high alert in the wake of attacks by Islamic militants, including the Abu Sayyaf group.

US embassy Manila foiled blast
Parts of an improvised explosive device (IED), like the one pictured here, were found outside a shopping mall in Leyte province in the Philippines. The 81mm mortar round was detonated remotely by using a cellphone during an amateur boxing competition. Reuters