DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 May) – Armed men believed to be New People’s Army guerrillas burned on Sunday night an interprovincial bus headed for General Santos City in a national highway in Sta. Cruz town, Davao del Sur.
The 10th Infantry Division said that Holiday Bus, with plate number LXA 20 and body number 73, was completely burned at 8:20 pm along the highway in Sitio Manga, Barangay Astorga, Sta. Cruz.
Lt. Col. Oliver Artuz, commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion, said the armed men flagged down the bus and ordered all the 60 passengers to alight before burning it with gasoline.
He accused the NPA as responsible saying it was their trademark, adding the rebels have tried to make their presence felt in the area by conducting a checkpoint early morning of February 7 this year where they disarmed an Army soldier.
There was no report of passengers being harmed or divested of belongings, and a television report quoted local residents as saying they sheltered some of the passengers who fled the scene.
Artuz admitted in a television interview though that the scene of the incident was just about 150 meters from the Astorga Elementary School which houses a police detachment.
1Lt. Joy Damasco of the 10th ID Public Affairs Office said the Army wants the PNP station in the place to become permanent due to the recent attacks by guerrillas.
At 5:45 am Monday, police investigators led by Supt. Querubin Manalang found one rifle grenade and two totally burned shotguns a few meters from the bus. The items were placed in the custody of the Sta. Cruz police station. (MindaNews)