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PIA Press Release

Possible bomb component found in Iloilo port

ILOILO CITY (20 October) -- Police in Western Visayas have been placed on alert anew following the discovery in the Iloilo City port of a powder that police say could be used as a component in the manufacture of explosives.

Chief Superintendent Geary Barias, Western Visayas police director, said they have tightened security in key installations and in all entrance and exit points all over the region following the discovery of the substance at the Iloilo port on Wednesday.

The port is near the regional police headquarters in Camp Martin Delgado.

Barias said the bronze-colored powder, totaling around 600 grams, was contained in six blue plastic tubes measuring two inches long with a diameter of one inch that a five-year-old boy found in a plant box.

Port security guards became suspicious of the tubes when they saw the boy playing with them and turned over the items to a police detachment nearby.

When mixed with another substance used in explosives, a small amount of the powder caused an explosion during a test conducted by operatives of the explosives and ordnance division of the regional police office.

Barias added, however, that police could not conclude that the powder was intended as a component for an explosive device.

"Even coffee could be use as an ingredient in an improvised explosive," Barias told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Samples of the powder will be sent to the Bomb Data Center in the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame to identify the substance, Barias said.

The powder would also be compared with other improvised bombs that were recovered or used in past terror attacks to identify the maker.

The police chief said they are not taking any chances because of the place where the items were recovered.

He said they have already been alerted after the four bomb attacks in Mindanao that killed six people and injured more than 30 others last week.

Police have blamed the attacks on the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group. (PIA) [top]

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