Suspected New People's Army rebels swooped down on a quarry site and bombed heavy equipment Sunday night in Brgy. Orong, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
Lt. Col. Antonio Tumnog, commanding officer of the 1 st Negros Island Geographical Battalion, said yesterday that about 12 communist rebels took the cellular phones of the quarry site employees, before blowing up the back hoe heavy equipment owned by Kagawad Raquel Siguero, with an improvised explosive device.
Estimated damage was placed at P200,000, Tumnog said.
The latest atrocity committed by the New People's Army took place after communist rebels staged two ambush incidents in Panay island, killing a policeman and inflicting injuries to 14 othes, last week.
Tumnog said the communist rebels left unharmed the two quarry site employees, before fleeing towards Brgy. Camansi, also in Kabankalan City.
He described the incident as plain and simple extortion, and said that the communist rebels in Negros want to project that they still strong and a force to reckon with, after the cancellation of peace talks with the National Democratic Front by President Rodrigo Duterte
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office has condemned the series of atrocities in Negros and in the Western Visayas.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, has reminded police chiefs not to lower their guard all the time, to prevent possible NPA attacks.
Castil said the NPA wants to regain and establishs their existence, but stressed that they will not be demoralized by it.
He added that they expect something big to happen on or before Dec. 26,which is the 49th founding anniversary of the rebel movement.
Tumnog said he believes that the armed suspects who are members of the Central Negros Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros, are also responsible for the ambush of policemen in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, and other summary executions in central Negros..
Last month, two foreigners and their Filipino driver were also injured, when they were caught in the crossfire, in an ambush staged by NPA rebels in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, while the policemen, targets of their military action, were not hit.
Tumnog said communist rebels hit soft targets, such as private and public installations, when they fail to hit military and police personnel.
Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero has ordered the beefing up of “focused military operations” against lawless elements, as rebels are expected to intensify their attacks in the wake of the termination of peace talks.
My directive to the troops is to intensify our focused operations to destroy the NPA, and to protect our communities from terrorism, he added.
Army soldiers and troopers of the 6th Regional Mobile Force Company are now tracking the fleeing suspects.* GPB
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