Fourteen improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and materials were discovered by the soldiers of the 25th Infantry Battalion in the hinterlands of Monkayo, Compostela Valley on Saturday morning.
Lt. Col Oscar Balignasay, the commander of the 25th Infantry Battalion, told TIMES that soldiers discovered the cache at the vicinity of Sitio Calaberahan, Barangay Mt. Diwata, Monkayo, around 9 a.m. on May 20 based on the information given by a rebel returnee.
Balignasay said troops of the Scout Platoon, Bravo Company recovered 14 IEDs. He said 12 were identified as mother caps with an estimated weight of 16 kilos and two anti-personnel (AP) mines weighing 25 kilos.
The battalion commander also said the operation was conducted after alias Uno, a former squad leader of Section Command 20 who surrendered to 25th IB, on May 18 tipped them off of its location.
The IEDs are now in the custody of the 25th IB for turnover to higher headquarters for proper disposition.
The 25th IB recovered a total of 29 IEDs believed to be cached by Section Command 20 since January this year.
Two IEDs were recovered at Rizal, Monkayo in two consecutive operations on Jan. 17 and 24 this year, one from Mt. Diwata, Monkayo on Feb. 17; 10 from Sitio Maot, Barangay Pangyan, Trento, Agusan Del Sur on April 6 around 1 p.m.; two from Sitio 7K, Purok 14, Pacian, Monkayo; and 14 from the latest operation.
In the latter operations the IEDs were found cached along enemy ambush position.
“The recovery of the huge number of IEDs that might have caused massive damage and inflict casualties to the operating troops is a manifestation of the former rebel’s sincerity in submitting themselves to the folds of law,” Lt. Col. Oscar B Balignasay Jr., 25th IB commander said.
“We will continue our quest of bringing peace and development in the area of operation. Safeguarding the peaceful living of the people is our utmost precedence,” Balignasay said.
The 25th Infantry Battalion already presented the former rebels to the local governments of Monkayo, and Trento, for immediate assistance and facilitated their subsequent enrollment to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government in which they will be provided with livelihood assistance.
They will also receive additional cash assistance for their surrendered firearms.
“To those who are still hiding in the mountains fighting for a pointless belief, it is not yet too late for you to surrender. The 25th Infantry Battalion’s door is open for you to enter and lay your arms,” the battalion commander added.