I was in the middle of conducting job interviews last Friday afternoon when I was notified of an explosion that was felt in the vicinity of the Ayala Center's Glorietta 2 and Park Square 2 malls. I immediately stepped out of my office and saw my staff urgently trying to contact our store near the blast site. They eventually reached the store's personnel via mobile phone, who said that they evacuated their post in a panic - quite understandable - but had the presence of mind to shut down their equipment and lock the doors. They were able to regroup in good order and reported, fortunately, that none of their number were injured.

I can't say the same for its other victims, who at last count numbered 11 dead and 120 injured.

Manolo has done an excellent job of rounding up comments from eyewitnesses and assorted pundits.

It goes without saying that Philippine retailers will be the most adversely affected business sector in the wake of the blast, at least in the near term. The explosion, which police are now saying was almost certainly caused by a bomb with a C4 warhead, happened during the runup to the 2007 Christmas shopping season, which traditionally starts soon after the All Saints Day holidays. Indeed, at least two major Metro Manila malls started their respective pre-Christmas sales promotions on the day of the blast. Philippine consumers will definitely stay away from the malls in the next few days, and if the authorities don't quickly restore confidence to an apprehensive populace, they may just decide to refrain from shopping for quite a while longer. Philippine retailers are depending on Christmas season sales for a substantial portion of their 2007 revenues, and it is certainly not an appealing prospect for many of them - of us, I should say - to see our customers frightened so.


I will be blogging here until service to www.unlawyer.net is restored.