Army seizes 1,026 dynamite sticks hidden by NPA in Bukidnon

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Oct) – The military said they found and seized 1,026 sticks of industrial-grade dynamite, apparently stolen by the New People’s Army (NPA) from construction companies, in Bukidnon that pack enough explosive energy to blow up an entire municipal hall building.

Army personnel from the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) under the 403rd Infantry Brigade gather the dynamite sticks apparently hidden by the New People’s Army in the hinterlands of Malaybalay City. Photo from the Philippine Army Facebook page

Maj. Francis Garello Jr., spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said the Army and the Philippine National Police have started an investigation to find out where the rebels were able to get hold of the dynamites.

“We are very alarmed by the quantity of the explosives we found. It is enough to kill every human being within a 100-meter blast radius or demolish a municipal building,” Garello said.

He said a certain Ronald Landasan, an NPA rebel who surrendered to the Army, led authorities to the explosives hidden in a pit inside a bamboo groove in Sitio Malinao, Barangay Kalasungay, Malaybalay City.

Garello said all of the 1,026 tube-sized dynamites sticks with markings of “ Superpower 90” were made by leading Indian explosives and defense manufacturer Solar Industries India Limited.

In its website, Solar Industries India Limited said Superpower 90 is “a cap sensitive emulsion explosives” designed for “tunnel blasting and all kinds of underground and aboveground operations.

The company said Superpower 90 “does not contain dangerous explosive chemicals such as TNT and nitroglycerine in its chemical composition.”

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said it is unlikely that the rebels smuggled the explosives from India.

“We believed the dynamites were either pilfered or stolen from construction companies operating in Bukidnon and nearby provinces,” Barandon said.

“We want to know why they did not report the theft to the authorities,” he said.

Barandon said a theft of huge quantity of explosives is enough to warrant a full-scale investigation.

He said Landasan, the former rebel, told them he had no knowledge where the NPA rebels got hold of the explosives.

NPA rebels are known to be using command-detonated landmines during their five-decade old insurgency war, the longest in Asia.

Army explosive experts blew up 77 improvised explosive devices (IED) they captured from the rebels in Barangay Tignapoloan, Cagayan de Oro last week.

Lt. Col. Vladimir DC Santa Maria said the explosives were captured from several encounters with the NPA rebels for the past four months. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)