NGCP tower toppled, cop killed in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte blasts
ILIGAN CITY— A power pylon of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) was toppled while a police officer died when an several explosions rocked a barangay in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte early Friday, authorities said.
Based on a report from Lanao del Norte police director Col. Sandy Vales, Brig. Gen. Anthony Abrina, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said two explosions were reported at around 12:30 a.m. on Friday in Purok 3 of Barangay Paiton, just six kilometers away from the town center.
Vales told the Inquirer that based on accounts of local residents, two blasts occurred which led to the downing of the NGCP tower.
After receiving a report of the incident, an explosive and ordnance disposal (EOD) team was deployed to the area at around 3 a.m., accompanied by personnel of the Army’s 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Provincial Intelligence Unit and 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company of the police.
Vales said while the clearing operation was ongoing, Police Senior Master Sgt. Rosellier Hangca found a SIM card case.
As he knelt to get it, there was a sudden explosion.
Police and soldiers rushed Hangca to the local hospital where he was declared dead.
Police Major Zandrex Panolong, spokesperson of the Iligan City Police Office, told the Inquirer that their EOD and K-9 units were dispatched to Kauswagan to assist in the post-blast investigation as well as in clearing the area.
NGCP towers in Kauswagan had been the usual target of sabotage attacks by armed men, in some cases having connections to local affiliates of the Islamic State terrorist network.
Abrina said they are still trying to establish the motive of the attack, and the identity of the perpetrators.