THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is still verifying if there are Filipinos among at least 29 injured in the explosion that rocked Chelsea district in New York City late Saturday.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose in a text message said “we are checking this with our consulate in New York and awaiting their report.”
The cause of the blast remains unclear, reports said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio described it as “intentional” but said that there were no known links to terror.
The explosion shattered glass windows and could be heard several blocks away.
Officials later told media that a device was found at a second location in the same district.
None of the injuries is life-threatening but one is serious, New York's fire commissioner said.
Most of those hurt suffered cuts and other minor injuries from glass and other debris.
Meanwhile, the Palace yesterday advised Filipinos in the Chelsea district in New York to remain calm and vigilant in the aftermath of the blast.
“We are deeply saddened by the New York explosion that left scores injured in Chelsea district. As authorities begin to investigate, the Philippine Consulate General in New York continues to monitor the situation closely. We advise Filipinos living in the area to remain calm and vigilant as we wait for further developments,” said Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar.
Reports said authorities are checking if the blast is a criminal act and not immediately linked to any terror organization.
A CNN report said law enforcement sources believed an improvised explosive device caused the blast.
President Barack Obama, who was attending a congressional dinner in Washington, “has been apprised of the explosion in New York City, the cause of which remains under investigation,”a White House official said.
“The President will be updated as additional information becomes available,” the official added.
New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said 29 people were hurt in the blast, and 24 of them had been taken to hospitals, including one person he described as seriously injured. The rest suffered various cuts, scrapes and other minor injuries from shattered glass and other debris, Nigro said.
The explosion, described by one neighbor as “deafening,” happened outside the Associated Blind Housing facility at 135 W. 23rd Street.