By FROILAN GALLARDO,
Special Correspondent .
ARMY soldiers seized a huge cache of dynamites, medical and food supplies in Bunawan town, Agusan del Sur, on Sunday.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said the 315 pieces of dynamites, if properly prepared with the agricultural fertilizer, phosphates, are enough to blow bridges, maim soldiers and policemen and become a major security risk for Mindanao.
Villanueva said they are conducting an investigation on how these explosives ended up in the hands of New People’s Army rebels when mining firms where they are used extensively, were supposed to handle them under heavy supervision by law enforcement agencies.
“We are looking where the explosives were pilfered. Was there lack of supervision?” Villanueva said.
Capt. Tere Ingente, Camp Evangelista spokesperson, said Army soldiers found the explosives along with medical and food in the middle of a jungle clearing in a village in Bunawan town.
Ingente said the soldiers also seized an M14 and AK47 assault rifles with 17 assorted magazines, blasting caps, 450 meters of electrical wire, radio sets and power generators.
“The soldiers were surprised to find the super dyne dynamites hidden among the plastic containers for waters,” Ingente said.
Ingente said the rebels usually used one stick of the foot-long dynamite for IEDs targeting soldiers or packed 75 pieces of the explosives to make a big IED to target passing military and police vehicles.
“Both are very deadly for soldiers and policemen. Sometimes, civilians are among the casualties,” she said.
The Philippines signed the Mine Ban Treaty on Dec. 3, 1997 and ratified it three years later on Feb. 15, 2000.
The Armed Forces regularly attributes landmine incidents to the NPA.
In a letter to Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor, the Communist Party said its armed wing, the NPA, only uses “command-detonated anti-vehicle mines” which are not prohibited by the Mines Ban Treaty.
Supervision is lax among the mining companies using dynamites in the country. Police and Army units seized 18,000 pieces of dynamites from an abandoned mining site in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat in 2016.
Fighting between the government and the NPA rebels continue in the countryside despite the order of President Duterte to resume peace talks with the communist rebels.