SOME 10 workers of a construction company were taken hostage for four hours after over a hundred suspected communist rebels swooped down and set up a road block at Sitio Mimbalite, Eureka, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, on Friday, August 25.
Police said about 130 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) belonging to the Guerilla Front 4B under Commander Dahon held the workers of Equiparco Construction Company and took their vehicles, an Isuzu pick-up and a forward boom truck.
The workers were heading to Sitio Mimbalite when they were flagged down by the rebels past 12:00 noon Friday.
Superintendent Roel Lamiing, Gingoog City chief of police, said the rebels took the belongings of the workers, including some P1.2 million cash intended for the employees' salary.
"Nag-road blocking yung mga NPA at pinababa yung mga empleyado. Allegedly kinuha yung mga cellphones at P1.2 million na pera at ginamit yung mga sasakyan nila (The NPA blocked the road and made the employees get out of the vehicles. Their cell phones and P1.2 million cash were allegedly taken and their vehicles were used)," Lamiing said.
Lamiing said the Maoist guerillas commandeered the vehicles as they were looking for a tribal leader who is said to be helping in implementing government programs in Kalipay village.
However, the group failed to locate their target, a certain Datu Kiki.
Lamiing added the group allegedly gathered the residents in the said village and spread propaganda against the government.
"Don sa area nag-conduct sila ng meeting sa mga residente sinabi nila ang opposition nila sa mga programa ng gobyerno at hinahanap nila kasi si Datu Kiki ang IP leader na tumutulong sa gobyerno. Gusto nilang kunin pero di nila nakita doon (In the area where they conducted a meeting with the residents, they expressed their opposition on the government programs and were looking for Datu Kiki, the IP leader who helps the government. They wanted to get him but didn’t find him)," Lamiing said.
The chief of police said the rebels returned to the workers the vehicles they took over including the belongings of the employees and the cash around 4:00 p.m. The group then fled and left the area.
Lamiing said the workers were not harmed or hurt but the incident had caused them fear.
"Ang nakita naming motive doon is ginamit lang yun sasakyan nila para hanapin yung target nila (What we see as the motive is they used the vehicle to find the target)," Lamiing said.
The police said they are waiting for the workers so they can likely file serious illegal detention charges against the identified suspects.
Lamiing said the police and the military are in full alert and have been monitoring the area to ensure that threat groups could not sow fear in the community.