US, Australia condole with victims of Davao explosion
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The United States and Australia on Saturday, September 3, expressed its sympathies to the families of victims of the Davao City explosion that killed at least 14 people and hurt over 60 others the day before.
US National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the US "stands ready" to help Philippine investigators if needed.
"The United States offers deep condolences to the families and other loved ones of the victims of the explosion in the Philippines’ Davao City, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured," Price said.
"We understand that local authorities continue to investigate the cause of the explosion in the night market, and the United States stands ready to provide assistance to the investigation," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who had declared a state of lawlessness following the attack, said early Saturday morning in response to questions that he did not want "foreign investigators" in the city as Philippine authorities can manage the probe into the explosion on their own. (For updates on the Davao blast, check Rappler's live blog)
The US is the first foreign government to convey its condolences to victims of the explosion in Duterte's hometown
Price said US President Barack Obama will personally convey his condolences when he meets with Duterte at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related Summits in Laos next week.
Obama is among at least 9 heads of state that Duterte is expected to have one-on-one meetings with, on the sidelines of the Laos meetings. The Philippine president had said that he will push through with the trip despite the incident which has prompted him to declare a nationwide state of lawlessness.
"The President will have an opportunity to offer his personal condolences to President Duterte next week, when the two leaders plan to meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Laos," Price said.
Australia also sent its "deepest condolences" to the victims and their families.
"On behalf of the Australian Government, I offer our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attack in Davao City, Philippines, on 2 September. Australia remains steadfast in our support for the Philippines in response to terrorism, and stands ready to offer any assistance to law enforcement authorities," said Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.On the declaration of a state of lawlessness in the Philippines, Bishop said "Australians in Davao should exercise heightened vigilance, avoid the affected area and follow the advice of local authorities."
"The level of our travel advice has not changed," she added. – Rappler.com