MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/18 January) — Four soldiers from the 8th Infantry Battalion en route to respond to reports that elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) burned two trucks were injured in an ambush by suspected members of the NPA in Quezon, Bukidnon at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Eastern Mindanao Command’s Public Information Office reported that the Scout Platoon, under a 2Lt Gaspar was on board a military truck, in convoy with an armored personnel carrier, was “ambushed/landmined” by the blocking force of the NPA at Zigzag, Palacapao, Quezon en route to Sitio Malo-os, Sinuda, Kitaotao at 8:30 a.m.
Lt. Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, battalion commander, said the soldiers, who sustained minor injuries, were sent to look into reports that the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Guerilla Front 53 torched two prime mover trucks in Sitio Maloos.
Cuerpo said the area has no signal for mobile phones and is a strategic position for the rebels’ mobility.
The burned truck was leased by Sumifru banana firm.
The torching incident, reported to be around 1:50 a.m., occurred in the same area where four officers of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology were abducted last year.
The suspected NPA guerrillas, wearing military uniforms, were reported to have conducted a checkpoint in the area, said Capt. Eduardo Meclat, spokesperson of the 403rd Brigade.
Col. Canilo Fuentes, deputy director of the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office, said “more or less” 60 rebels posed as government troops and burned the trucks. Meclat reported only 30 perpetrators.
The first truck, loaded with bananas and owned by JY Company of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, was totally damaged, Fuentes said. The EastMinCom report said the truck is owned by Jun Yee of General Santos City and was loaded with Dole and Sumifru bananas.
The second truck, owned by Romeo Sajulga of Bantuanon Truckers, was only partially damaged. Only the trailer was destroyed, he said.
But Eastmincom reported the second truck was “also stopped but only its tires were burned.” (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)