Some 100 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other booby traps laid by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have so far been disarmed by soldiers in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo town, Maguindanao which has been turned into a bomb making center by the brigand group.
Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), disclosed this yesterday at the sidelines of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming, here.
Padilla said government troops are currently conducting clearing operations in the area after series of clashes with BIFF gunmen over the past two weeks.
“Per latest report that we got from Maguindanao, as of the last few days our troops have entered Barangay Tee and started clearing operations,” he told reporters, adding: “Umaabot na po sa halos 100 na IED ang kanilang na-disarm.”
The AFP spokesman also said that this latest development in Datu Salibo town also confirms information they previously received, indicating that Barangay Tee was being used by the BIFF to conduct trainings in bomb making.
He called these acts as “anti-people” and “anti-development” as these atrocities effectively stalled ongoing development projects in the area.
As the PMA marked its alumni homecoming, none of its adopted members who are seeking national or local posts in the coming elections were allowed to participate in the parade.
Only regular members were seen on Borromeo Field where the annual homecoming parade is held.
Among the honorary members of the PMA Classes are the five “presidentiables” in the May 9 elections: Vice President Jejomar Binay, an adopted member of Class of 1988; former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, adopted Class 1984; Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Class of 1991; Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, of Class 1969; and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, of Class 1967.
Among the vice presidentiables, PMA alumni adopted members are Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, adopted by Class 1992, and Francis Escudero, Class 1987.
It has been a tradition of PMA classes to adopt politicians as honorary members. This year, however, they were not allowed to join the parade because of the coming synchronized elections.