Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan sought an explanation from Western Command (WESCOM) officials regarding the mysterious explosion reportedly witnessed by residents of Bataraza and Rizal on Saturday evening.
Board members Al Nashier Ibba, Rafael Ortega Jr., and Ryan Maminta said in separate speeches during their regular session on Tuesday that they want to hear from WESCOM about the alleged explosion, which some described as an unidentified flying object (UFO).
“We would like to request the Western Command for a copy of their report on the investigation regarding the ‘mysterious explosion’ to the provincial government, to allay fears of residents of Bataraza and Rizal, as well as other residents of the province,” Ibba said.
Ortega, on the other hand, stated that, while the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has already issued an official statement on the matter, WESCOM, which conducted an investigation over the last two days, has remained silent.
“Yesterday, the PhilSA confirmed that it was a meteoroid, based on their assessment. We’re hoping it was just a meteoroid because I’m not sure if it exploded in midair or on impact with the ground,” Ortega said.
PhilSA said “based on publicly available information, which includes CCTV footage, the phenomenon could have been caused by a meteoroid as it enters the atmosphere,” adding that “small meteoroids disintegrate in atmosphere while larger ones will survive and eventually hit ground and produce a loud booming sound.”
Maminta, meanwhile, said he wants to have the presence of WESCOM officials for them to explain the phenomenon.
“While we are grateful that WESCOM officials appeared before us (in confidence), I believe it is time to invite them back to present a report and update us,” he said.
WESCOM’s only update so far has been that investigations being conducted in collaboration with police, the coast guard, and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices of Bataraza and Rizal have been empty, leaving them in the dark about the explosion.
Palawan News has attempted to contact WESCOM for updates, but officials have not responded to text messages as of press time.