Thursday Dec, 01 2022 04:43:32 AM

6th ID has new artillery unit, new cannons against terror groups

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 15:30 PM Sat Nov 12, 2022
John M. Unson
The brand new 155 millimeter cannons from Israel were test-fired Friday. (John Unson) 

COTABATO CITY - Efforts to neutralize local terrorist groups got a big boost with the activation of a 200-member artillery unit, now in Maguindanao del Sur and equipped with eight modern 155 millimeter canons from Israel.

Officials of the two-week-old 10th Fire Artillery Battalion and Major Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, on Friday showed to local officials and reporters the efficiency of the unit’s eight 155 Self-Propelled ATMOS 2000 Howitzers in actual artillery fires at Barangay Talisawa in Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao del Sur.

The bombardment drill, targeting unpopulated hills nearby and witnessed by Datu Abdullah Sangki Mayor Datu Al Wali Mangudadatu, capped off the culmination event for the three-day orientation course of the 200 personnel of 10th FAB, based in Barangay Talisawa.

Local executives in Maguindanao del Sur told reporters the testing of the artillery equipment, cannon shell blasts heard in towns around, was enough message for members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the Dawlah Islamiya and the Al-Khobar groups to know that the 6th ID's anti-terror Joint Task Force Central has additional firepower it can use against them.  

Galido told reporters Friday while their units have frequent tactical engagements with forces of the three groups, operating in the adjoining provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, the 10th FAB shall only be utilized if extremely necessary.

The 155 MM ATMOST Israeli-made cannon has a 40-kilometer reach and its shell has a 75 to 200-meter blast radius.

“Our efforts to convince members of these groups to return to the fold of law and get reintroduced into mainstream society with livelihood support is our top priority,” Galido said.

There is BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya presence in a number of towns in Maguindanao del Sur, those close to marshes and large rivers that connect to central Mindanao’s Liguasan Delta that Filipino and foreign experts found to have large deposits of natural gas.

More than 300 members of the BIFF and the Dawlah Islamiya, tagged in all deadly bombings in central Mindanao since 2014, have surrendered in batches to units of 6th ID in the past three years.

Galido said the commanding officer of 10th FAB, Lt. Col. Chamberlain Esmino, and his subordinates shall focus too on community projects in support of the peace and socio-economic programs of the local government units around their artillery base.

Galido and Col. Francis Anthony Coronel, the Philippine Army’s Artillery Regiment commander, separately appreciated the support of the Datu Abdullah Sangki LGU in the setting up of the 10th FAB’s fire base in Barangay Talisawa. 

Mangudadatu, first-termer mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki, is the chairman of their multi-sector municipal peace and order council.


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