NPA rebels torch P2.4 million worth of heavy equipment in Bukidnon quarry site
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A group of young men believed to be communist rebels torched down P2.4 million worth of heavy equipment at a quarry site in a barangay (village) in Valencia City, Bukidnon over the weekend.
Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Valencia City police chief, said in a phone interview Sunday, June 21, that the men, mostly minors, burned two payloaders, a dump truck, a backhoe, a mini dump truck, and two new payloader tires at a quarry site in Purok 6, Barangay Sinabuagan at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday.
A witness said one of the 10 armed men pointed a gun at him as he introduced the group as members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). He said the suspects appeared to be young and were speaking a “lumad” (Indigenous Peoples) language.
After identifying themselves, the suspects set the vehicles on fire and left these partially burned, police said.
Investigators estimated the equipment damage to reach P2.4 million.
Sereñas said that before the young men arrived, two unidentified men were seen observing the area but since it was a wide-open space. The quarry operator however just ignored them.
Police believe the suspected rebels could have met at Sitio Kalawag, Barangay Apo Macote before crossing the Polangui River and moving toward the quarry area.
Witnesses also noted that most of the suspects were barefoot, Sereñas said.
“We are still investigating but according to witnesses, they recognized familiar faces. They (witnesses) were able to identify some of those in the group,” Sereñas said.
He said the attackers were between the ages of 16 to 24 years old.
“It took only about 10 minutes for the suspects to burn the vehicles, after which they withdrew in small groups towards different directions,” he added.
Sereñas said the equipment operators extinguished the fire after the suspects left.
“The NPA (rebels) were in a hurry because the nearest military detachment was only about 2 kilometers away,” he said, adding that military officials had been alerted of the attack right away.
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