COTABATO CITY: Police explosives experts in Koronadal City safely deactivated a fragmentation grenade found under a parked government vehicle there owned by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office 12 on Saturday.
Supt. Barney Condes, Koronadal City police director, said the grenade was defused at a firing range about 6 a.m., shortly after a security guard found it under a parked Toyota Innova vehicle owned by LFRB-12.
Condes believes it was meant as a retaliatory attack against the intensified campaign on colorum vehicles operating in the region.
Several passenger van vehicles were impounded at the LTFRB-12 compound for failure of its owners and operators to obtain the required LRFRB franchise.
Condes was certain that the incident had nothing to do with the Charter anniversary celebration of Koronadal City that started on Saturday.
Region 12 is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal and Gen. Santos City.
Meanwhile, the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines established a round-the-clock border checkpoint in the town of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat to prevent the transport of improvised explosive device (IED), unlicensed guns, and illegal drugs.
Chief Insp. Bryan Bernardino, Esperanza town police chief and 1Lt. Jano Reyes, commanding officer of 57th Infantry Battalion Alpha Company, led the inspection of vehicles to ensure the 24/7 checkpoint operation on the Sultan Kudarat-Maguindanao highway.
The checkpoint was put up in Barangay Saliao in Esperanza. The checkpoint aims to monitor the movement of private armed groups, criminal elements, guns-for-hire as well as Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.
Esperanza is the last town of Sultan Kudarat before Maguindanao where suspected bombers, illegal drug pushers, and KFR gangs are believed to be based.
On Thursday, residents alerted the police about the presence of suspicious bag left unattended in front of a roadside restaurant but bomb experts found no bomb inside.