By Jigger J. Jerusalem
AUTHORITIES ruled out the possibility that the explosion of dozens of stored bombs inside the National Police’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) camp in Barangay Indahag on Friday afternoon was an act of sabotage.
“There was no human intervention. It was likely that the explosion was caused by a chemical reaction,” said Camp Alagar spokesperson Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa.
Citing an initial report provided by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal investigation team, Hortillosa said it was not probable that the explosion was triggered by human hands as there would have been casualties if that would have been the case.
About 50 bombs and other ordnance, termed by the military and police as “UXO,” were stored in a shed made of wood and galvanized iron sheets located a few meters from the RMFB headquarters.
Hortillosa said the weather could have played a factor in the unintended detonation of the stored materiel, adding that the heat might have created the chemical reaction causing the bombs to go off.
He said the explosive storage facility was not the ideal place to stock the bombs and mortars.
Ideally, Hortillosa said, the storage site should be about at least three kilometers from any building or a populated area and it must be made of sturdy materials.
The storage depot that got burned due to the explosion was located about 500 meters from the RMFB compound, with offices, living quarters, kitchen, armory, and other structures.
He said EOD experts from the PNP national headquarters inspected the facility this July 15, and recommended that the UXOs be set for disposal.
“Before these bombs could be disposed of, the explosion happened,” Hortillosa said.
Following the blow-up, he said the RMFB decided to dispose of the remaining UXOs right inside the headquarters on Saturday as transporting them would be too dangerous.