From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 18): Marine soldier wounded in Palawan roadside explosion
An improvised explosive device (IED) that was detonated on a roadside early Tuesday afternoon by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bataraza town in southern Palawan injured a Marine private, a military official told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
MBLT-4 commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Facundo said the injured Marine soldier, who is now in stable condition at a hospital in nearby Brooke’s Point municipality, is one of four from the 24th Marine Company of his battalion.
The commanding officer did not say the name of the soldier who was hurt by shrapnel in the left foot, claiming his family has to be informed first.
Facundo said the roadside explosion happened around 1:00 p.m. when his team was passing through Sitio Tagbituka, Barangay Tarusan to go to Barangay Rio Tuba – both in Bataraza.
The troops were traveling from Barangay Bono-Bono aboard a M35 truck when the incident happened.
“It’s possible that they are retaliating because taking over their training camp in Barangay Samariñana (Brooke’s Point) had really hurt them,” said Facundo when asked of the possibility that the roadside explosion was a NPA retaliation move.
Mayor Abraham Ibba, whose team was in the area as first responder following the roadside explosion, said Tarusan, a quiet barangay in Bataraza that is home to Del Monte’s banana plantation and pineapple farms, was where he was ambushed too, in 2015.
“The site is where I was also ambushed before. It’s characterized by hilly areas, and some parts are densely wooded,” said Ibba.
He added that his office has also received reports that some armed NPAs have been sighted in the borders between Bataraza and Rizal in Barangay Culandanum, but cannot confirm if the roadside bomb explosion was caused by them.
In June, the MBLT-4 was part of a joint task group that scored big time against the NPA when they snatched control of a 12-hectare hinterland area the communist terrorists are using as refuge and drill camp.
Facundo, in an interview then, said: "This enemy training camp of the Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC) served as breeding ground to sow terror in Palawan. We have unmasked their feeling of invincibility because the AFP has the capability to locate enemy camps and neutralize them anywhere, even in mountainous areas.”