BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – There seems to be no end in sight yet, observers said, for the woes of the New People’s Army as the tiempo suerte opens here, a time when the Communist rebels usually expect a windfall from their “taxation” of sugarcane planters.
Soldiers of the 94th Battalion here seized an ammunition dump in the upland community of Double Yarding in Mahalang village, Himamaylan City only days after ranking cadres of its Central Negros Front 1 yielded to government.
The seizure of the ammo dump buried by the rebels beside a creek that people usually pass by came after residents tipped off soldiers about it, a development that Army officials said, shows the growing mistrust of upland folk for the rebels.
The discovery of the ammo dump was almost on the same day 22 years ago when the NPA killed 17 soldiers in Carabalan, a village also in upland Himamaylan.
The incident, also called the Bulod ambush, became the national record of the NPA for the most number of soldiers killed in a single incident.
Army Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte told DNX the ammo dump discovery proves that the NPA does not follow international conventions and protocols of war that prohibit the use of IEDs.
The 94th reported two anti-tank IEDs and eight anti-personnel ones were found along with at least 2,000 .30 caliber rounds were seized.
“It is meant to shock soldiers, more of a psychological warfare approach,” Pasaporte told DNX.
He added the IEDs could have been patterned after that made by Communist rebels in southern Mindanao that indicates the bomb makers here were trained by those in the Philippine south.
“The signature is the same,” Pasaporte said, referring to the similarity in the use of components between the IEDs found here and those used in Mindanao.