Two explosions occurred at the compound of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. in Bataraza, Palawan, Wednesday night, but no one was reported injured, police said.

The explosions occurred past 8 p.m. near the company’s private airstrip and power facility, Senior Supt. Atanacio Macalan, Palawan provincial police director, said in a phone interview.

No one was hurt, but the explosions reportedly created small craters, he said.

One of the craters was measured as having a 12-inch radius and 4-inch depth, Insp. Pearl Lambanmarzo, provincial police spokeswoman, said in a separate phone interview, citing field reports.

Macalan ruled out any possibility that the New People’s Army had a hand in the blasts, saying there had been no reports that the rebel group has a presence in the area.

“Wala ‘yun, wala ‘yun. ‘Yung tinitingnan nating mga motibo dito, isa is politically, business, or done by unscrupulous characters,” he said.

“Tinitingnan natin kung politically motivated kasi at this point in time election period na, pero wala kaming narinig na itong Rio Tuba Mining Corp. made a pronouncement na mayroon silang sinusuportahang candidate. Since election period lang, I said, tingnan natin ‘yun,” the police official added.

Lambanmarzo said blast investigators were sent this morning from the provincial capital, Puerto Princesa City, to determine what caused the explosions.

They have yet to relay investigation results as Bataraza, Palawan’s southernmost town, is a 4- to 5-hour drive from Puerto Princesa and has poor mobile phone signal, she said.

Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., owned by Nickel Asia and its Japanese partner Sumitomo Metals and Mining Co. Ltd., has been mining nickel ores and selling these to smelters abroad since 1977. (John Roson)

– end –