NPA rebels burn 4 road equipment PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 January 2016 14:19

Police and army troops intensified on Saturday a manhunt against suspected communist rebels who set fire to four heavy equipment of a construction firm in T’boli, South Cotabato.

Police Chief Insp. Jose Marie Simagan, police chief of T’boli town, told dxOM-AM the burning of the equipment by some 15 New People’s Army guerrillas happened around 8 p.m. Friday.

Simangan said the NPA rebels quietly arrived at the compound of AJ construction company in Barangay Edwards, disarmed the security guards and burned a road roller, a backhoe, grader and a dump truck.

Quoting the security guards, Simangan said the attackers identified themselves as “NPAs.”

After torching the construction equipment, the rebels left letters addressed to the construction company owner and to South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes.

Simangan said it was likely the rebels were out to extort money from the company that has been working on a road expansion project in T’boli, an upland town

The Philippines military has beefed up forces in communist hotbed provinces in the troubled island of Mindanao where they are also battling armed groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s one time largest Muslim rebel group that has signed a peace deal with the govrnment in 2013.

Four days ago, the army’s 16th infantry battalion composed of about 500 soldiers and officers arrived in Surigao del Sur, another communist hotbed province,to augment four other battalions waging a campaign against Maoist rebels.

The target of operation is the Andap Valley complex where most of the rebels are believed holed up.

Surigao del Sur Governor  Johnny Pimentel welcomed the soldiers, saying he had asked for more Army battalions for deployment to end the problem of insurgency that has plagued their province since 1979.

“Our prayers have been heard. We welcome you here knowing that you can help solve the insurgency problem in our problems,” Pimentel was quoted by MindaNews as saying.

Pimentel said Surigao de Sur ranks third nationwide in the number of communist guerrillas, after Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, also in Mindanao island.

“Come election time, these rebels will again harass candidates campaigning in their bailiwicks. This has to stop,” he said.

Pimentel said he anticipated no problem with the additional army troops even if most of the human rights groups and militant left accused the military for allegedly backing up the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani who were identified by witnesses as having killed Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), a school for Lumads (indigenous tribes) and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo on September 1.

“There is no clear evidence that the military is behind the killings or that they are supporting the Lumad killers,” Pimentel told reporters

Pimentel said he is satisfied that the police has put bounties of P1.2 million each for the arrest of suspected Magahat leaders Bobby Tejero, his older brother Loloy and Garito Layno.

He said the bounty will one day help authorities arrest the three suspects.

“The rest of the demands made by the evacuees and human rights groups are not doable at the level of provincial government,” Pimentel said.

He revealed at least 1,000 evacuees are still at the Tandag sports center,  afraid to go back home with the ongoing military operations.