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Members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines taught more than 40 officers from the Philippine National Police techniques for identifying homemade bombs in Zamboanga del Norte province Dec. 22-23.
Law enforcement in Zamboanga regularly comes across suspected IEDs and often have to investigate individuals accused of making homemade bombs, making this training imperative to perform their duties.
"The purpose of the class was to teach the bomb squads what to look for when searching a property of someone who is suspected of making explosives. Even typical household products can be used for making IEDs," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Dave Friedman.
The JSOTF-P members were from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 5 (MU-5), and taught bomb squad officers from the Regional Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Detection Unit 9 (REODDU9).
PNP officers spent the first day in a classroom setting learning about materials used to make crude Improvised Explosive Devices. On the second day, the bomb squad detonated the explosives during a live-fire exercise at police headquarters.
For the past six months, MU-5 members have been working closely with the Region Nine bomb squad on a variety of different training exercises, building their capacity to better recognize, respond and overall counter IEDs in the Philippines.
"In our job, we must understand the mixtures that can make up these IEDs, so we can counter them," said Kenneby Damsid, a bomb technician with PNP Region Nine. "We really enjoy working with the JSOTF-P EOD teams, we learn so much from them,"
JSOTF-P EOD teams are situated at various locations throughout the southern Philippines, assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the PNP, and local government units. Using a combination of classroom instruction, city-wide drills, and demolition exercises, teams are sharing their years of training on how to detect and render safe IEDs.
Teams here draw upon not only their experience working in the Philippines, but also knowledge gained by multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It is great to share our knowledge with the teams here. I feel honored to work with the AFP and PNP teams, and I am glad we can share our best practices with them," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Daniel Smith.