Army calls for vigilance following Maguindanao bombing attempt

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Military forces in Maguindanao have been placed on heightened alert as soldiers put up more checkpoints following President Duterte’s declaration of state of lawlessness.

Colonel Earl Baliao, commander of 601st Infantry Brigade, also urged the public to be vigilant and quickly alert authorities about suspicious luggage, bags and plastic shopping bags left unattended in public places.

Baliao said a concerned citizen named Norodin alerted elements of the 37th Infantry Battalion about what he found at a roadside in Barangay Rebuken, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“We need people like him, cooperate with our forces to prevent injuries and death in this situation,” Baliao said.

When bomb experts checked on the unattended plastic bag, it turned to be composed of three improvised bombs fashioned from 60 mm mortar with two-way radio as triggering mechanism.

To ensure public safety while the deactivation process was on going, soldiers shut down portions of the Cotabato-Davao highway for two hours.

Baliao said the explosives have the “signatures” of outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), saying the same explosives were used by the lawless group in the past.

The discovery of three power IEDs in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao came about eight hours after another IED was set off by suspected BIFF in Barangay Lower Salbu, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

The IED went off at 9:30 a.m. while soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion were conducting foot patrol following the implementation of declaration of state of lawless by President Duterte in the aftermath of Friday’s Davao bombing.

Colonel Warlito Limet, commander of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, blamed the BIFF for the roadside bombing and called on the public to report suspicious items in populated areas or roads frequented by civilians. PNA/