Armed men torch 8 buses in Batangas terminal
Armed men in military uniforms burned eight buses in a sweeping attack on a bus company terminal in Lemery town, Batangas province, before dawn on Sunday.
Provincial police information officer Chief Insp. Dwight Fonte Jr. said 14 men who arrived in two blue-and-white vans were behind the raid on the Jam Liner Inc. terminal in Barangay (village) Palanas at around 1:15 a.m. The terminal is located in a busy district.
“It took them just [a few] minutes [to burn all the buses],” Fonte said.
None of the witnesses were able to identify the gunmen but said they wore camouflage uniforms and wielded high-powered rifles.
The men escaped toward Calaca town after dousing the buses with gas and burning them, Fonte said, quoting witnesses.
He said the company had yet to give an estimate of the damage.
Police were still finding out where the security guard was during the attack.
Fonte said the attack could have been carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
He said it was very similar to an incident last year in Pagsanjan town, Laguna province, when armed men set on fire 11 buses of HM Transport Inc.
Lemery and Calaca are “easily accessible” by boat from the island of Mindoro where rebel presence is said to be heavy.
Last July, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) announced that the provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas were clear of insurgents.
“It is possible that they (NPA rebels) were only trying to show force and make their presence felt,” Fonte said.
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