New Delhi: Philippine was gripped with terror on Friday when a deadly explosion rocked a packed night market at the southern city of Davao where Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte was present.

The bomb blast occurred in a market near the high-end Marco Polo Hotel visited frequently by Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.

One of the student of the Atenao de Davao University who was present at the time when the bombs went off, said, “We were having a meeting and we heard a very huge explosion. The first thing we thought was ‘it’s a bomb’. The area where there was the explosion was a massage parlour. So we saw these men and women from that place in their uniform, they went to the school lobby to seek help. They were soaked in blood.”

“We have to confront the ugly head of terrorism,” Duterte said, standing near the explosion site on Roxas Avenue in Davao City, his hometown. “We will take this as a police matter about terrorism.”

It is reported that the hometown of Duterte where the blast took place is under a heightened security alert because of operations against militant outfit Abu Sayyaf.

Some witnesses said that the bomb blast occurred through a cylinder blast while some gave contrasting remarks about an explosive at the site. Police have cordoned off the area and have issued alert in the vicinity for any suspicious activity. Officials are investigating whether this was a terror attack or not.  No terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Ernesto Abella, the president’s spokesperson, said, “While no one has yet claimed responsibility it is best that the populace refrain from reckless speculation and avoid crowded places. There is no cause for alarm, but it is wise to be cautious.”

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has unleashed a state-sanctioned war on drugs where more than 2,000 civilians have been killed till now. Asked about whether he was worried about an assassination bid, Duterte shrugged it off by saying that it was expected. While many have hailed his effort to cleanse the country off of drugs, the state-sanctioned internal war has resulted in number of casualties, majority of them innocent civilians.