Surigao Sur on alert after successive highway robberies

CANTILAN, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/29 April) – The Philippine National Police in Carrascal and Provincial Public Safety Battalion units are on alert after a succession of highway robberies and a shooting incident in just one day on April 26.

A report from the regional police said two trucks, a pick-up vehicle and a motorcycle were flagged down at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday and robbed by five unidentified men.

The report said the robbers flagged down a silver Isuzu Fuego pick-up with plate number KCA-996 owned by FS Borja trucking Company, a ten wheeler DT Dump Truck with plate number RLY 574 owned by JTP Trucking and a black XRM single motorcycle with plate number LM 4716.

Initial investigation conducted by the Carrascal police station showed that the victims, identified as Jayson Irrezari, driver of the Isuzu Fuego and his companion Jeffrey U Semiros, were travelling from Carrascal to Barangay Taganito in Claver when they were flagged down and robbed by the suspects who were wearing bonnets and were armed with M14 rifle, caliber .45 pistol, caliber .38 revolver.

At gunpoint Irrezari and Semiros were ordered by the robbers to leave the vehicle after declaring a hold-up. The armed men took off with P29,000 and two Nokia cellphones.

Consequently, Genson Acevedo, driver and Harold Arreza on board a 1O-wheeler DT “Saddam” dumptruck and Eddie Salcedo, driver and Gilbert Lumayno, checker of another 10-wheeler also of the same make, were also flagged down and robbed by the same group who carted away one Cherry mobile phone, one USB and a bag containing a handheld radio.

A few minutes later, a black XRM motorcycle driven by Engr Alwin Kindica, an employee of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),  was also flagged down and held up. Kindica was travelling from Barangay Parang, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur for Surigao City. Taken from him were P28,OOO and a Nokia cellphone.

Later that evening, at around 8 p.m. in the same barangay where the series of highway robberies happened,  a white Starex van  with plate number LYH 11O and driven by Saturnino Buniel of Cantilan, was shot at by unidentified suspects armed with an M16 rifle.

Passengers in the van were Melvin Escamillan, Albert Escamillan and Stevenson Reyes who are auto electricians and residents of Barangay 17, Langihan, Butuan City. The van is owned by Mr Archie Beldad of Cantilan.

The bullets hit the windshield and the left window of the van. The driver managed to navigate the vehicle from the firing line.

Buniel, 52, suffered minor cuts on his head nad arm from fragments of the broken windshield.

He was treated at the Rural Health Center of Carrascal.

Senior Insp. Ray Sorreda, Carrascal police chief, said that since January this year there had been no hold-up incident in the area. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)