2 dead, P1.5M lost in Bukidnon NPA attack

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Two workers died and an estimated P1.5 million worth of properties were burned in the facilities of a pineapple grower in Quezon, Bukidnon as New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents raided anew Tuesday.

The Maoist rebels raided the Kiantig Development Corporation in Barangay San Jose in Quezon and razed a warehouse made of light materials and a bunker.

Security guard Rey Baylon, a resident of Barangay Laligan in Valencia City, and caretaker Reynaldo Pangcat, a resident of Kiantig, were found inside the warehouse already charred, police said.

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After the rebels burned the warehouse, Baylon fought and shot the rebels but he was hit. Pangcat was also hit during the firefight.

The bunker is one kilometer away from the warehouse.

Around 100 Maoist rebels clad in blue camouflage armed with high-powered firearms raided the firm.

The rebels set on fire the firm's main building that houses one tractor, three motorcycles, a television set and an air conditioner, Inspector Joanne Galvez, Bukidnon Provincial Police (PPO) spokesperson, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro over the phone.

Major Christian Uy, public information officer of the Army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Tuesday afternoon that the rebels carted away six M16 rifles, four shotguns, three carbine rifles, one Garand rifle and 2,200 rounds of ammunition.

The rebels also disarmed 14 security guards.

Uy called this action of the rebels a “desperate attempt.”

"First, they want to divert our ongoing pursuit operations on the perpetrators of the killing of Mayor [Mario] Okinlay. Second, they want to sow terror and project they are still a force to reckon with," Uy told Sun.Star.

Okinlay is the Impasug-ong mayor who was ambushed in the morning of July 2 in Barangay Bontongon, Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon. The NPA later owned the killing of the mayor.

[Read related story: Bukidnon town mayor ambushed]

Meanwhile, Bukidnon police are still conducting in-depth investigation on the motives of the attack.

"We have to look at different angles. It could be a failure to give extortion money on the part of the offended party, personal grudge, a mere showcasing of their power to threaten investors and imposed terror on people who refuse to join and support them, and so forth," Galvez said via text message.

According to Galvez, checkpoints on all possible routes of the rebels around the province are now established.

The insurgents used burning tires to block the Quezon National Highway and prevent reinforcement from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Galvez said.

The firm is located more than seven kilometers away from the national highway.

The rebels boarded a red 10-wheeler truck, a white forward and red Elf trucks and fled to unknown directions.

In the early morning of the same day, more or less a hundred suspected NPA rebels also attacked the house of tribe chieftain Calpito Egua or Datu Calpit in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur that left 14 Maoist rebels, four Lumads and one soldier dead.

“The NPAs have used all of their forces in Surigao and Agusan areas to conduct the attacks. This is a proof that its armed group is diminishing in numbers," Major General Ricardo Visaya, 4ID commander, said in a statement earlier.

The attack in Bukidnon is the sixth happening in one day on Tuesday, July 15.

NPA rebel killed in Zambo

In Zamboanga del Norte, a suspected NPA rebel was killed while a policeman was wounded in a clash Tuesday in Sergio Osmeña, military and police officials said.

Captain Franco Suelto, public affairs officer-in-charge of the Army’s First Infantry Division, said the clash broke out around 9 a.m. when policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Battalion (PPSB) spotted a group of NPA rebels while on security patrol in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.

Senior Superintendent James Mejia, Zamboanga del Norte police director, said PO1 Edward Panoril was wounded in the clash.

The NPA rebels reportedly fled as government reinforcement arrived. Sergio Osmeña Municipal Health Office paramedics rushed Panoril to the hospital.

Mejia said policemen were deployed in the nearby barangays of Macalibre and Princesa Lamaya as blocking forces to prevent the escape of the NPA rebels and to conduct clearing operations in Barangay Maligaya in the nearby Municipality of Polanco following the reported evacuation of residents in the area as an offshoot of the clash in Sergio Osmeña.

Suelto said troops from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion were positioned in Barangay Kauswagan to block the retreating NPA rebels.

It was not known how long the firefight lasted but Suelto said the troops have recovered the remains of a slain NPA rebel around 5:30 p.m. while conducting clearing operations in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.

Suelto said the troops recovered an improvised explosive device, a grenade, ammunition for AK-47 assault rifle and subversive documents of high intelligence value.

He said the clash triggered the evacuation of 250 civilians to the Sergio Osmeña municipal covered court.

The Sergio Osmeña Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office have provided them relief assistance. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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