THREE children were killed when a grenade launcher ammunition they were playing exploded in their house in Sitio Neptune, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur on Monday evening.

First Lieutenant Michael Pascua, civil military operations officer of the 75th Infantry Battalion (75IB), said three-year-old Renz Galdiano was "playing and throwing" the M203 grenade launcher ammunition at the terrace of their house, where the other victims -- 1-year-old Reden Galdiano and 12-year-old Rynna Tiu -- were also around.

Pascua said residents heard of an explosion and later found the three victims lying dead on the floor.

He said they are still investigating how the children got the grenade launcher ammunition reportedly owned by the victims’ father Reger.

"What was reported is that the family found the grenade launcher ammunition in the hinterland part of their sitio. The children were left unattended and probably assuming it was just a toy. It was a very unfortunate event that we told the residents in said place to turn over to the military if they found a strange object such as guns and bombs,” Pascua said in an interview.

Pascua said there is a big possibility that the grenade launcher ammo came from the New People's Army (NPA), saying the area is known to be "rebel-infested".

Pascua said the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) found fragments of the grenade launcher ammunition in the dead bodies of the victims.

In a statement, Lieutenant Colonel Jaime Datuin, 75IB commanding officer reminded residents in the area to "to turn-over to proper authorities any explosives, ammunitions or illegal firearms in their possessions before it’s too late."