MILITARY and police bomb experts, acting on reports from villagers, foiled an attempt by local terrorists on Monday to topple a relay tower of the national power grid system in the southern town of Pikit.
Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division commander Alex S. Rillera reported on Tuesday that the bomb disposal operation was prompted by warnings from vigilant members of the community, among them businessmen, about a plot to topple down the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) Tower 39 in the area.
Three improvised explosive devices, planted at the steel footings of the tower, were immediately diffused by responding bomb disposal teams from the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion and the Pikit Municipal Police Station.
Local officials and members of the Islamic religious community in Cotabato province have confirmed to the media that the terrorist groups Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Dawlah Islamiya connived in the supposed bombing of the tower.
The sources said the bombing attempt was meant to create an impression that both groups have not been weakened by the surrender of over 300 members to authorities since late 2021.
Soccsksargen Regional Police Director Jimili L. Macaraeg commended and thanked residents of Pikit for promptly reporting the bombing plot as part of their support to the government’s campaign against violent religious extremists.
The BIFF and the Dawlah Islamiya, both operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have been notorious for bombing public transportation and establishments whose owners refuse to pay “protection money” on a monthly basis. — John M. Unson