NPA rebels set up checkpoint in Surigao del Sur

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 10 February) — Some 100 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels set up a checkpoint along the national highway in Cortes town in Surigao del Sur around 8:00 a.m. Thursday and ransacked the sari-sari store and house of a former Army officer located nearby.

The Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office confirmed the incident by posting on their page a photo of the incident posted by a netizen on social media.

The checkpoint put up by by the NPA Guerilla Front 30-Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee reportedly led by Joel Mahinay alias Ka Nico prevented motorists and commuters from passing through the national highway in Sitio Lubcon in Barangay Mabahin, Cortes.

NPA rebels prevent motorists from passing through their checkpoint. Photo courtesy of Netz TV Caraga

“Many of the workers never pursued their travel going to work out of fear. This is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law,” the Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office post said.

Patrolman Melvin Castro, who was assigned to respond to calls from the Provincial Tactical Operation Center of the Provincial Police Office, said the rebels had left when the Police Provincial Mobile Force and the 36th Infantry Battalion arrived in Sitio Lubcon.

Clearing operations ended around 9 a.m., he said.

The rebels went to the nearby store and home of former 2nd Lt. Joven Rivera. It was not clear if the former Army officer had a firearm, and if there was, if the guerrillas confiscated it.

Lt. Jimel Acuesta, chief of police of Cortes said that witnesses saw the rebels take foodstuff from the store.

He said the entire incident, including the looting of the store, lasted around 30 minutes.

He added the rebels just talked to the commuters and motorists and did not harm them.

Policemen from the Provincial Mobile Force had set up a checkpoint along the national highway in Barangay Buenavista in Tandag City to block a possible attack by the NPA rebels. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)