By LITO RULONA
THE New People’s Army (NPA) yesterday gave its reason for the recent guerrilla attacks in Bukidnon where they set afire non-military vehicles: these were allegedly borrowed by the Army and used in operations against communist rebels.
The explanation was given following an attack in a village in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, that saw heavy equipment owned by the firm Venray Construction Corp. being set afire by an armed group at dawn Thursday.
Nicolas Marina, a spokesman of the NPA in Misamis Oriental, said rebels staged the attack at the field office of the construction company in Barangay Cabangahan, Malaybalay City in Bukidnon, Thursday dawn.
He said the construction company, which the NPA said is owned by one Venus Manisaka, also allowed the military to use its property as a camp for soldiers and militiamen.
Marino said the NPA burned down a dump truck, a backhoe, a grader, a road roller and a cabover pickup truck on Thursday alone.
Marino, in a press statement, said the truck was used by soldiers as they carried out offensives at NPA camps and guerrilla positions.
The Malaybalay attack came a week after another NPA rebel group threatened Ronda Tanod members with gunfire so they would release a guerrilla they held for a curfew violation in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. They then burned down two vans, an Izusu Elf truck, a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, and two motorcycles in Sitio Aurora, Barangay Sto. Niño, Manolo Fortich, as they fled to towards the direction of Malitbog town.
“Gikondena sa NPA ang paggamit sa mga sakyanang nga gipanag-iyahan sa (civilian) government og private individuals sa ilang operation military. Kini dako nga kalapasan sa balaod sa gubat nga naka-latid sa Respect of Human Rights and International War Agreement or Protocol 2 of the Geneva Convention,” Marino said.
Marino said the NPA has documented the use of civilian government-owned and private vehicles during military operations in the hinterland areas of Bukidnon.
For instance, on May 9, 2019, the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion allegedly used a non-military mini-bus during an operation in Kalabugao, Impasug-ong town, he said.
Marino said the following day, the Malaybalay city hall allowed the use of a dump truck and a pick-up truck in the same area.
He said the burning of the vehicles were the NPA’s counterattacks.
“Ang ilang kalapasan mao ang pagpa-kampo sa ilang lugar sa 8th IB duol sa ilang construction area. Kini warning lamang niadtong naaa sa LGU og private company nga nakalapas usab sa lagda sa gubat,” Marino said.
He said the NPA received information that the construction firm’s security group has high-powered firearms when guards, based on the law on private security, can only use short firearms and shotguns.