Alleged NPA rebels raid Quezon hacienda
LUCENA CITY – A band of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels has swooped on a hacienda in San Francisco town in Quezon province, an Army official said on Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Ely Tono, commander of the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion based in the Bondoc Peninsula district, said the rebels abducted two members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgu) and four security guards of the hacienda during the attack at the Tumbaga ranch in Sitio (sub-village) Tumbaga, Barangay (village) Nasalaan past 5 p.m. Monday.
“But they were eventually set freed few hours later. The six just returned to the ranch,” Tono said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
He said the communist guerillas seized six old Armalite rifles from the ranch house during the raid. Hacienda workers, however, could not provide how long the alleged rebels raided the ranch.
Quoting witnesses, Tono said the attackers, among them women, were estimated to be around 50 to 60 persons.
“Most of them were unarmed rebel militias,” he noted.
Tono said the ranch owned by the family of American James Murray is located in an isolated village of San Francisco.
The owners, the military official said, are now based in Metro-Manila and the vast ranch, mostly coconut farmlands, was being managed by caretakers.
Combined military and police forces are now conducting follow-up operations to track down the rebels, Tono said.
Bondoc Peninsula is known as one of the “agrarian hot spots” in Southern Tagalog where several landowners control big landholdings in the towns of San Francisco, San Andres, San Narciso, Mulanay, and Buenavista.
The place has been known in the past as the bastion of NPA insurgency in Southern Tagalog.
In February 2017, a band of NPA rebels burned down several heavy equipment owned by a government contractor who was building roads at the time in Barangay Casay also in San San Francisco. /kga
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