MANILA, Philippines -- Two terrorist bombs exploded Sunday night in a southern port city, one aboard a ferry whose terrified passengers leaped overboard to escape, authorities said. Five people were killed and 83 injured.
Military officials blamed the Moro National Liberation Front for the explosions in Pagadian, the capital of Zamboanga de Sur province, 500 miles south of Manila. It was the worst bomb attack of 1982 blamed on the Moslem separatists.
Two of the dead and 50 wounded were taken from the ferry, the Santa Lucia, docked at the Pagadian port. The other casualties occurred in the second blast, at a city market.
The inter-island ferry was about to sail with about 800 passengers when a homemade bomb exploded on the second deck, punching a hole six inches in diameter through the floor and sending terrified passengers jumping overboard, authorities said.
'Most of the injured suffered fractures,' said Dr. Victor Pajares of the Pagadian provincial hospital. 'People aboard panicked and ran out of the vessel. Some jumped into the water.'
The other blast, at the gate of a market, destroyed five stores and four motorized rickshaws. Most shoppers had already left, Pajares said.
'Had it happened earlier more people would have been hurt,' he said.
Brig. Gen. Cirilo Bueno, regional chief of the paramilitary Philippine Constabulary, said the attack at Pagadian may have been carried out by the MNLF as part of its 'usual terroristic activities.'
The MNLF has been spearheading a war for Moslem self-rule in the Mindanao-Sulu region. Fighting since the secessionist movement began in 1972 has claimed more than 60,000 lives.
Several bomb attacks were reported at Pagadian early this year but there were no fatalities.