Rebels raid Bukidnon police station

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Friday, December 13, 2013

KIBAWE, Bukidnon -- About 50 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels raided Kibawe Police Station Thursday morning, killing one police officer, wounding three others and carting away 13 firearms.

Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Rodolfen Alonzo was killed during the attack that lasted 20 minutes while PO3 Jona Roban, PO2 Eliezer Lacoste and Johnrey Maniego were wounded.

The rebels carted away three .9mm pistol, three .45 caliber handguns and seven M16 armalite rifles.

Noel Armilla, deputy director for operations of Northern Mindanao Police Regional Office (PRO), told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the police manning Kibawe station were outnumbered.

“We were not surprised, but definitely the police in Kibawe were outnumbered. In October, the police have been alerted to defend vital installations in the region including police stations,” Armilla said.

Town Mayor Minerva Casinabe said the policemen tried to defend their post but were no match for the estimated 50 rebels.

Casinabe said the attack was the first of its kind in Kibawe. “Nothing like this happened even during Martial Law.”

The rebels, who boarded three vans and four pickup trucks, were allegedly led by Kumander Revo.

Armilla said the rebels rented vehicles in Davao and when they reached Marilog district, another team flagged the vehicles down and drove toward Bukidnon.

Armilla added that the rebels failed to overrun the police station around 5 a.m. Thursday as military and police sent their reinforcement.

Capt. Christian Uy, 4th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the rebels ground their vehicles to a sudden halt in front of the police station and fired on the police on duty.

He said the rebels withdrew toward Barangay Tumaras in Kibawe using the same vehicles and abandoned the three passenger vans at Pulangui River in sitio Patag, Barangay Mascariñas in Kibawe.

Uy said no civilians were reported hurt in the raid.

The NPA executed the offense for its salvo on the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, Uy said.

Col. Francisco Pabayo of 403rd Brigade based in Malaybalay City dispatched some scout rangers, special forces and the 8th Infantry Battalion to reinforce the police from the regional public safety battalion based in nearby Dangcagan town to pursue the rebels.

Upon reaching sitio Panamtapan, Barangay Midkawayan in Damulog town in Bukidnon an improvised explosive device exploded by the road side.

There was no casualty, but some shrapnel hit a vehicle.

Police Superintendent Glenn dela Torre, acting provincial director for Bukidnon, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that he reminded the police in a memo sent to all their stations in Bukidnon last week of November to be alert at all times following intelligence reports that NPA rebels might launch attacks.

Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr, who went to Kibawe around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, said he will address insurgency in Bukidnon via dialogue.

“I extend my hand for peace. If the (peace process) is not solved in the national (level), we can do it in local,” he added.

Zubiri appealed to the NPA rebels to spare Bukidnon from attacks.

Earlier this week, suspected NPA rebels burned two dump trucks owned by Mayor Levi Edma of San Fernando town.

On December 1, rebels killed three persons and injured a boy in Sitio Abel, Miarayon, Talakag town.

In 2007, the NPA also attacked the police station in Dangcagan, a town next to Kibawe. A police officer was killed, and the rebels snatched seven firearms and ammunition. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 13, 2013.

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