Unattended bag yields IED as Davao City prepares for anti-terror drills on Feb. 28

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 February) — Motorists passing by Lasang were asked to turn around early Thursday morning while authorities attended to a bag that yielded an improvised grenade.

A press release from Task Force Davao said civilians reported to the Task Force Davao’s Explosives and Ordnance Disposal and K9 Team in Lasang at around 6:30 a.m. about the unattended bag, some 50 meters from the footbridge going to Davao City and 1.2 kilometers from the Task Force Davao checkpoint in Sitio Licanan, Barangay Lasang.

TF Davao said the bag was apparently thrown there.

Traffic returned to normal at around 7:30, it said.

Improvised grenade found in an unattended bag in Lasang, Davao City, early Thursday morning, 08 February 2018. Photo courtesy of Task Force Davao

The improvised explosive device (IED) was made of PVC pipe, detonating cord, blasting cap and ammonium nitrate fuel oil or fertilizer mixed with diesel fuel.

“These materials are also used for dynamite fishing although NPAs (New People’s Army) use the same,” Task Force Davao said.

Col Nolasco Mempin, Task Force Davao commander said the improvised grenade was not detonated since it needed to be ignited first before it will explode.

He said an investigation is ongoing to identify the person who left the bag.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Deputy TF Davao Commander, told MindaNews the area was cordoned off as precautionary measure.

“Dinalhan namin ng K9 and the sniffing dogs sat near the bag, an indication of probable explosives content,” he said.

The swift response of authorities in Lasang was lauded by residents.

The recovery of the IED came as the city is preparing for “Southern Storm Drills,” a series of anti-terror exercises that will be implemented nationwide but piloted in this city on February 28.

Parts of the improvised explosive device found in an unattended bag in Lasang, Davao City, early Thursday morning, 08 February 2018. Photo courtesy of Task Force Davao

Mayor Sara Duterte urged Dabawenyos to be patient and to prepare themselves for “Southern Storm Drills.”

“I encourage the participation of the barangays and the public, medyo taasan nila ang ilahang pasensya,” the City Information Office quoted the mayor as saying.  the “little inconvenience on the part of the public during the simulation will save lives in the future.”

The mayor said the simultaneous exercises “will require a lockdown of the city and the members of our communities need to be informed.”

She stressed the importance of emergency preparation in the city, especially in respnoding to disasters and terror attacks.

“I am asking for your patience because the public will greatly benefit if we are well-prepared – whether it is for incidents considered as acts of God or by people with bad intentions since I do not want casualties,” she said.

“The D-day for the anti-terrorism drill is on February 28,” Senior Inspector Ma. Teresita Gaspan, spokesperson of the Davao City police, said at the iSpeak Media Forum at City Hall. She said “the drills will also address weaknesses in the event of a terror attack and other emergencies.

Gaspan said the schedules of the simulation exercises have been disseminated to the barangay officials and will be taken up during the next meeting of the City Peace and Order Council.

The drills will include simulated scenarios like “bomb explosions, fire incidents, hostage situations, and active shooting,” the City Information Office said.  (MindaNews)