Explosion rocks North Cotabato highway

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A powerful improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned from an 81-mm mortar projectile went off along the Pagalungan-Pikit highway in North Cotabato around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The explosion took place about seven hours after an IED, also fashioned from an 81-mm mortar, was recovered in Poblacion, Midsayap, in front of a vulcanizing shop, just a few feet away from the national road.

Inspector Sulayman Bakal, chief of Pagalungan police, said the explosion was so loud that it was heard around 400 meters away from his station.

The blast site, he said, is only 100 meters away from the Pagalungan Bridge, one of the oldest structures built along the Maguindanao-Cotabato highway.

The bridge connects towns of Pagalungan and Datu Montawal in Maguindanao to North Cotabato towns.

Sulayman hinted the roadside blast has something to do with the ongoing armed fighting between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the government troops.

No one, though, was reported hurt during the blast.

The explosion in Pagalungan town, reports from the police said, was the second since the fighting erupted on Monday.

Around 12:45 a.m. Monday, a grenade exploded at a para-military detachment in Pikit town, also in North Cotabato, wounding four Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) members and a civilian.

Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, North Cotabato police director, believes another group could be behind the series of roadside blasts along the Maguindanao-Cotabato highway.

"This group, which is not in anyway, connected to the ongoing fighting, is out to wreck havoc and fear among residents of North Cotabato," Salinas said.

He refused, however, to identify such group.

Despite the blasts, the police and Army personnel manning the Maguindanao-Cotabato highway refused to close the road for traffic.

"There is no reason to fear. We have no reason to close the highway. We just want people in the community to be vigilant, to be extra careful while we’re experiencing this situation," Salinas said.

He assured the commuting public that the police in North Cotabato, including other law enforcement agencies and Army personnel, are always “on alert” to secure the safety of the commuters, government installations, and the community.

The fighting, which started Monday, resulted in massive displacement of residents from towns of Datu Saudi, Ampatuan, Guindulungan, and Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao, and towns of Midsayap, Aleosan, and Pikit in North Cotabato.

Data from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Cotabato chapter said the internally displaced families from Datu Saudi town numbered to 1,023, most of them from the indigenous peoples’ communities.

The internal refugees are temporarily housed in two evacuation centers in Poblacion, Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

At least 693 families coming from Barangays Iginagampong, Maitumaig, Sitio Lapitus, and Sitio Bai are housed temporarily at Datu Pendililang Piang Elementary School; while 330 families from Barangays Babingi and Salvo sought refuge in the municipal covered court in the Poblacion, the PRC said.

The PRC Cotabato also recorded at least 689 internally displaced families in Barangays Poblacion and Dalingaoen in Pikit town in North Cotabato.

As this developed, Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp), assured war victims and residents from the affected provinces that government forces are ready for necessary defensive actions to protect and ensure their welfare should the perpetrators launch attacks again.

Deles, in a statement issued to media, said the BIFM is not part of the MILF, and "thus, not covered by any ceasefire agreement."

"This act of aggression of the BIFM is meant to derail the peace process between the government and the MILF. We assure the public that these incidents will not affect the substantial gains that we have carefully and persistently built with our counterparts, foremost of which, is the ceasefire mechanism that continues to hold on the ground and kept the peace for our communities," Deles said. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes
    ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes

    The Yolanda-inspired film “Taklub” has won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The advocacy film, which had a successful premiere last Tuesday under the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is directed by 2009 Cannes best director Brillante Mendoza and top-billed by Nora Aunor. The award cited the film’s sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities in the Philippines fighting to continue living despite natural disasters exposing them to suffering and death. …

  • Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam
    Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam

    A 21-year-old orphan from Capiz topped the chemical engineering board examinations held this month. Remington Salaya, a cum laude graduate of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo, ranked first in the board examinations with a score of 83.30 percent. Out of 405 chemical engineering graduates who took the exam in mid-May, 239 passed. …

  • A sunset party for APEC delegates
    A sunset party for APEC delegates

    Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized …

  • UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute
    UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China’s increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. In Manila, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to China to respect various international agreements on freedom of navigation and aviation. Coloma’s call came in the wake of an incident Wednesday where Chinese naval forces warned a US …

  • Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center
    Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center

    Philippine Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Elizabeth Buensuceso has called on participants of the ASEAN-China Center (ACC) brainstorming session to vigorously work on promoting ASEAN-China relations under the principles of inclusivity, transparency and centrality. The brainstorming session, attended by the ACC’s joint council and joint executive board members, also involved a midterm review of ACC’s work since its establishment in 2011. The ACC aims to promote …

  • Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation
    Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation

    Distressed Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon may find it more difficult to return home. The government of Lebanon has tightened the rules on repatriation of distressed household service workers (HSWs), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reported yesterday. Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Baldoz said the Lebanese government opted to re-impose a previous policy requiring investigation into every case of HSWs who ran away from their employers and sought …

  • Army execs face attrition over promotion quota
    Army execs face attrition over promotion quota

    Dozens of Philippine Army officials may be removed from the service due to a promotion quota system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang. In a letter to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, he requested that the 30 percent promotion quota – which means that only 30 percent of those eligible for promotion in a given year will actually be promoted – in the Army be raised to 50 percent. Under the military’s attrition law, middle-grade officers …

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options