Philippine Army

Soldiers seize NPA pile of over 1,000 dynamites in Bukidnon

Froilan Gallardo
Soldiers seize NPA pile of over 1,000 dynamites in Bukidnon

Soldiers find 1,026 dynamites hidden in a pit in a hinterland village in Bukidnon. Photo supplied by the 4th Infantry Division

Army 4th Infantry Division

The explosives recovered by the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division packed enough explosive power to blow up a town hall

Soldiers found and seized from the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bukidnon 1,026 industrial-grade dynamites that pack explosive energy enough to blow up an entire town hall building, the military said on Monday, October 10.

Major Francis Garello Jr., spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the military and the Philippine National Police have started investigations to find out where the rebels were able to get hold of the dynamites.

“We are very alarmed with the quantity of the explosives we found,” Garello said.

The military said the industrial-grade dynamites were found in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, on Friday, October 8, with the help of a former NPA rebel, Ronald Landasan, who surrendered to the Army.

Garello said the dynamites were enough to “to kill every human being within in a 100 meter blast radius or blow up a municipal building.”

Soldiers find 1,026 dynamites hidden in a pit in a hinterland village in Bukidnon.
Army 4th Infantry Division

The dynamites were hidden in a pit at a bamboo grove in Sitio Malinao in Barangay Kalasungay.

Garello said the dynamites, with markings of  “Superpower 90,” were made by leading Indian explosives and defense manufacturer Solar Industries India Limited.

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

Solar Industries Limited said the dynamite “does not contain dangerous explosive chemicals such as TNT and nitroglycerine in its chemical composition.”

Brigadier General Ferdinand Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said the military suspected that the dynamites were “either pilfered or stolen from construction companies operating in Bukidnon and nearby provinces.” 

“If so, we want to know why they did not report the theft to authorities,” said Barandon, adding that a full-scale investigation was in order.

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

The NPA rebels are known to have been using command-detonated landmines during their 30-year-old insurgency war, the longest in Asia.

Last week, Army explosive experts blew up 77 improvised explosive devices seized by soldiers from the NPA in Barangay Tignapoloan, Cagayan de Oro City.

Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Santa Maria said the 77 IEDs were seized by soldiers during several encounters with NPA rebels in the past four months.

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship