The timely information from residents about the mine-laying activities of New People’s Army rebels in Brgy. Bantulinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, relayed to the military and police saved a lot of lives, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
This was after the bomb squad of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, assisted by the 94th Infantry Battalion, while conducting panelling and confirmation on reported mine laying activities of suspected NPA rebels in Sitio Labana, Brgy. Bantulinao, Manjuyod, discovered seven holes along the road with electrical wirings in them, although no explosive was found.
The continued inspection of the Sitio Kambugtong road in the barangay by the NOCPPO Explosive Ordnance Division and K-9 unit led by PChief Master Sergeant Bobong Temprosa, also led to the discovery of an electrical wiring with main explosive filler, attached to two rifle grenades.
The encounter on Saturday night between government forces and about 20 NPA rebels in the area, several hours after participants of the medical mission initiated by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) left the place, yielded five improvised land mines, among other war materials.
Madriaga said he suspects that those improvised landmines seized by Army and police personnel, may have been manufactured to be used against them, or on civilians who may happen to pass the area.
Before the arrival of the OPAV teams composed of doctors and nurses, accompanied by military and police personnel, Madriaga said they already received information from residents of the area, who got warnings from the rebels not to attend the medical mission, as they will be using landmines.
Landmines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are indiscriminate weapons, Madriaga said, adding that the information of civilians relayed to them pre-empted their use.
The encounter also on Saturday in Manjuyod also led to the killing of a suspected NPA member identified by Madriaga as Agripino Palomar, 24, a resident of the barangay.
Two months ago, Army soldiers also recovered three improvised anti-personnel mines, after an encounter with NPA rebels in Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, while pursuing suspects in the killing of town Councilor Jolomar Hilario.*
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