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Philippine president condemns terrorism after blasts
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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday condemned the act of terrorism in her visit to a hospital that treated dozens of people wounded in a twin-bomb attack on Thursday that killed three and injured 47 others.

The president condemned "the ruthless and violent acts of terrorism against communities," a press release from the presidential office said, adding that Arroyo also visited the funeral home to console families of the fatalities, two baggage boys and a store clerk.

Embracing a sobbing relative, Arroyo said she was also saddened by what had happened to the family.

The visit came a day after two bombs ripped through two malls in the city of Iligan at around 13:30 p.m. local time on Thursday. Initial findings said the bombs were triggered by mobile phones.

No group has claimed responsibility while the military and police suspected it was conducted by rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim rebel group that has been exchanging fire with government forces for four decades in southern Mindanao region.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez said the government will not stop hunting these terrorists until they are put behind bars.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesman Secretary Jesus Dureza called on the people to "remain steadfast and vigilant and not allow such dastardly act to further terrorize us."

Arroyo has directed the military and the police to step up operations against the 370-member group.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2008)

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