NorthCot residents worried over series of shooting incidents

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – Residents in North Cotabato have expressed fears after a series of shooting incidents rocked the province since August 1.

The recent killings happened on August 15 when five shooting incidents took place in four different towns in the province.

“It’s giving us chills. We could no longer do gimmicks, especially during night time,” said Harra Laquinan, 25, a resident of Barangay Batasan in Makilala town.

“Do we have an organized crime group operating in North Cotabato? Why can’t they resolve the killings?” asked Mark Flores, 23, a nurse from Barangay Sangat in the municipality of M’lang.

Since Monday, at least five males became victims of summary executions in four municipalities, police reports said.

In Arakan town, two drivers of passenger motorcycles locally known as habal-habal were shot dead after attending a funeral in Barangay Macalangot past 7 p.m. Monday.

The Arakan police station chief, Senior Insp. Arjay Celeste, said families and relatives of drivers Jake Pajenado, 25, and Marlon Alarba, 35, both residents of Centro Macalangot, could not find reasons why the two were murdered.

“We discount the possibility that they were victims of mistaken identity since the gunmen made sure their targets were executed.  As to reasons, however, we have yet to dig deeper our probe,” said Celeste.

In Matalam town, a former communist guerilla identified as Emiliano dela Pena, 55, was also shot to death while he was barking for passengers as a dispatcher along the highway around 7 p.m. Tuesday. He had been a dispatcher for passenger vans plying the Cotabato-Kidapawan route since he surrendered to authorities a few years back.

In Pikit town, a security guard identified as Dennis Adam Maganod, 32, of Barangay Fort Pikit, was ambushed by still unidentified gunmen while onboard his motorcycle along the highway in Barangay Ginatilan.

In Makilala town, a still unidentified body of a male, about 5’9” in height and with fair complexion, was recovered in a grassy lot in Barangay Poblacion around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Police are still clueless as to what caused the killings.

The latest killings brought the number to 14 since August 1, data from the local police showed. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)