TWO trucks of Philex Mining Corporation were set on fire, Thursday morning by suspected rebel groups in the province.
Ed Aratas, Philex head for legal affairs confirmed the incident saying the drivers were confronted by a group carrying banners of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) with high powered firearms, who directed them to get down from the vehicles after which proceeded to torch the two Volvo company trucks.
The trucks were at the Sitio Tapak area in Barangay in Ampucao, Itogon when the incident happened.
Aratas said the company cannot estimate damages from the rebel attack but assured there were no injuries from the incident.
Deputy Regional Director for Operation's Police Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro confirmed the attack was made at 7:30 a.m. with five armed members of suspected NPA’s burned the mine trucks.
Benguet Police are now in pursuit of the rebels while continuous investigation and intensified information gathering is on-going to determine their identities.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan has likewise condemned the incident.
"Apay nga iraman da ngay piman ti ag-business nga good payor ditoy ayan tayo? Now, they (NPA) are not welcome for talks since even the President declared an all out war against these rebel groups, if it is true that it is them who did it," said Palangdan.
“Adu ti ka conflict ti Philex but we still have to find out the truth, the real perpetrators and the real score of doing this," the chief executive said.
Cordillera police are on alert as the NPA anniversary is slated next month with an expected influx of terrorist activity.
This week, an NPA member was arrested in La Trinidad for frustrated murder charges.
The 503rd Infantry Brigade, Regional Public Safety Brigade, Philippine Army, Benguet Provincial Police Safety Company, and the Philippine National Police have teamed up to apprehend the suspects in the burning.
On the same day, joint forces of the 3rd ISU and PRO-COR arrested three suspects aboard two getaway vehicles Tiptop, Ambuklao, Gibraltar and Ambuklao Rd.
An Isuzu DMAX (ZRH 321) and Innova Blue (VJ 3573) were flagged down at a police check point and matched descriptions relayed by witnesses during the burning, the three individuals were taken into custody with identities withheld as of press time.
The trio is now under police custody.