Cotabato to extend aid to cops hurt in twin roadside blasts

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/27 May) – The Cotabato provincial government will provide financial assistance to policemen who were wounded in two roadside blasts here on Friday.

In a statement, Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza said she has already ordered fund release for the hospitalization and cash assistance to Police Officer 1 (PO1) Ronald Espanola of the Arakan municipal police station and PO1 Kenneth Enghog, PO1 Jorvel Baliguat, and PO2 Reymiel Sarigumba, all members of the Magpet municipal police office.

Espanola was hurt during the first explosion which took place along Sitio Panabang, Barangay Binoligan, around 9 a.m., Friday.  He was aboard a patrol car headed for the provincial police headquarters in Barangay Amas, this city, for security briefing.

The other three policemen from Magpet sustained injuries in their heads and lower extremities during the roadside bombing which took place at Purok Uno, Barangay Marbel, around 2 p.m., also on Friday.

The victims were aboard a mobile unit when an improvised explosive device planted along the Kidapawan-Magpet road went off.

Mendoza has ordered the provincial police director, Senior Supt. Emmanuel Peralta, to conduct thorough investigation of the twin blasts and arrest the perpetrators.

“I condemn these monstrous acts of violence and I will make sure that justice would be served,” she said.

The Kidapawan City police office, citing as basis the reports of the scene of the crime operatives said the two bombs “were of the same make”.

“With this, we can safely say that only one group was behind the blasts,” said city police director, Supt. Leo Ajero.

Earlier, a member of the New Peoples’ Army Guerrilla Front 53 sent text messages to some local reporters owning up to the blasts, saying they did it in retaliation to what the 39th Infantry Battalion did to their group in Barangay Salat, President Roxas town.

1Lt Silver Belvis, 39th IB spokesperson said they used aerial attack or “indirect fires through close air support” against their targets at Barangay Salat.

“We were outnumbered then when we went to the area so we needed aerial support.  We were only 24, while our enemies were at 60 plus,” said Belvis.

The mortar and aerial attacks on Thursday led to the death and wounding of civilians, all Moro residents of Salat, said Mary Joy Mirasol, chairperson of Karapatan-North Cotabato. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)