Philippine leader declares 'state of lawlessness' after bomb

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At least 12 people were killed and 60 injured Friday night in an explosion purportedly from a bomb at an open-air market area in southern Davao City on the same day as a visit by controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to his hometown.

"We have to confront the ugly head of terrorism.We will take this as a police matter about terrorism", Duterte told reporters at the site of the blast.

"It remains to be seen whether the declaration of lawlessness will see the imposition of hardline security policies by Duterte against Islamic militants in a manner similar to the bloody war on drugs or whether the Filipino president can clamp down on the 'environment of lawless violence" without a major increase in bloodshed. Fifteen of the injured are in critical condition, CNN Philippines reported, citing Southern Philippines Medical Center director Leopoldo Vega.

"I practically flew in the air", Adrian Abilanosa, who said his cousin was among those killed, told AFP shortly after the attack as bodies lay strewn amid broken plastic tables and chairs.

A young resident looks at lighted candles and flowers during a memorial for bomb blast victims at the site in Davao City. It is about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) from the capital of Manila.

"It's not martial law, but it would require nationwide, well-coordinated efforts of the military and the police", Duterte said, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.

Duterte, the longtime mayor of Davao City, has faced domestic and global criticism since taking national office for his hardline stance on suspected drug offenders.

The explosion went off at about 10.30 a night market outside the Marco Polo hotel, a place Duterte visits often and used for meetings during his national election campaign.

President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of a "state of lawlessness" in the Philippines after a blast that left at least 14 dead raised fears at the weekend that it could lead to a curtailment of basic freedoms.

Philippines armed forces ramped up an offensive against the group on the southern island of Jolo in late August, after it beheaded a village chief.

Some commanders of Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the self-declared "Islamic State" (IS) group. It has this year decapitated two Canadian hostages and held Norwegian, Indonesian, Malaysian and Japanese citizens.

According to a government source, Abu Sayyaf has taken responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, De Lima, a former justice secretary, said groups perceived by the government as "threats to national security" should not be accused of conspiring against the Duterte administration.

Suspicion among top officials in Duterte's administration has centred on Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic State-linked group against which the military has stepped up operations after a series of piracy incidents and high-profile murders of Western hostages captured global attention.

Human rights group members gather in front of Quiapo Church in Manila on Sept 3, 2016, condemning the bombing of a night market in Davao city. "We call on all the people to be vigilant at all times". But at the same time, anything that can happen under the state of lawlessness can be blamed on him.

President Obama will have an opportunity to meet with Duterte next week, Price added.

Security forces have conducted raids in communities throughout the country to arrest or kill drug traffickers.

She helped rescue three people, but one of them, a woman who was seven months pregnant, died.