CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mike Baños) – The Army's 4th Infantry Division (4thID), based here claims it has captured what could be the New Peoples Army's (NPA) biggest bomb-making and ammunition factory in Mindanao, military officials said yesterday.
Recovered from one of the caves - 13mm drill machine
4ID's public affairs chief Major Samuel C. Sagun, " said elements of the 36th Infantry Battalion and the 4th Division Reconnaissance Company captured two caves in Sitio Greenfields, Barangay Sta Juana, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur believed to be the NPA's biggest bomb-making and ammunition factory and depot in Mindanao after a brief firefight Wednesday morning, 24 January 2007.
Greenfields is believed to be the NPA's regional base in Caraga Region where regional training and CPP anniversaries are being held.
It also appears to be the home base of NPA Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris, who was last reported to have been trapped in by elements of the 36th and 58th Infantry Battalions of the 401st Infantry Brigade in Bgy. Sta. Juana, Tagbina, Zamboanga del Sur and expected to surrender shortly because of his failing health.
In his report to 4ID commanding general Gen. Jose Barbieto, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Madarang, 36th IB commander, said his troops recovered from one cave several bomb-making and ammunition reloading equipment including 42 plastic containers of Superdyne dynamite explosives that could produce about 250 pieces of eight-kilogram landmines, 18 Claymore mines, an M14 rifle, an M16 rifle, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher, two mortar base plates, a B40 anti-tank weapon base plate, one set rifle ammunition reloading machine, one 13mm electric drill press machine, 76 rounds of M60 7.62mm machinegun ammunition, detonating wires and two pieces expanders. Madarang said they are still digging around the vicinity of the caves for another 100 plastic containers of Superdyne dynamite explosives believed buried within the vicinity.
Earlier, Sagun said troops also recovered an RPG launcher, a B40 anti-tank weapon, a motorcycle, and subversive documents believed to belong to Mr. Madlos a brief firefight last January 18 southeast of Greenfields.
According to a report filed with army headquarters by Barbieto, combat operations against the NPA are still being pressed in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur by the 401st Infantry Brigade under Colonel Jose Vizcarra, one of three organic units of the 4th ID with close-in air support from two UH-1H helicopter gunships and two MG520 assault helicopters from the Tactical Operations Group 10, Philippine Air Force under Lieutenant Colonel Raul del Rosario based in Cagayan de Oro's Lumbia Airport.
"The capture of the bomb-making factory will definitely degrade the NPA's bomb-making capability in Mindanao," said Barbieto.
" The discovery of the huge explosive depot/factory has also evidently proved that the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army should remain to be tagged as an International Terrorist Group," Barbieto said.
Military officials are now coordinating with DSWD and local government units for the rehabilitation of Sitio Greenfields, Barangay Sta Juana and other nearby barangays.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel Madarang, CO of 36th Infantry Battalion inspecting the recovered items.
Some of the claymore mines and superdyne explosives contained in plastic containers after the capture. Mortar bipod recovered.