COTABATO CITY – Communist insurgents raided the house of a police agent and seized assorted weapons in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province in Mindanao, a spokesman for the New People’s Army said on Thursday.
Rigoberto Sanchez said rebels seized over a dozen automatic weapons, including a sub-machine gun and grenade launchers from the house of Reynaldo Dinampo on Wednesday afternoon. He said Dinampo’s house is just near the headquarters of the army’s 39thInfantry Battalion and the city police headquarters.
“The NPA’s daring disarming operation was conducted in close proximity to the command headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion and several minutes away from the city police headquarters,” Sanchez said, adding, the rebels did not even fired a single shot when they carried out the raid.
Sanchez did not say if Dinampo or any members of his family were inside the house when rebels struck., but claimed that “masses in North Cotabato celebrate this recent disarming operation by the Red army as fitting revolutionary justice against the fascist Philippine National Police that opened fire at thousands of protesting Lumad and peasants, killing 3 and severely wounding others, on April 1 last year in what is notoriously known as Kidapawan massacre.”
Police and military did not give any statement on the daring raid.
Just this week, rebels also torched a provincial bus in the village of Bagong Silang in North Cotabato’s Makilala town. Five gunmen, who were among four dozen passengers, stopped the bus and introduced themselves as NPA fighters and ordered everyone out of the vehicle before setting it on fire.
Officials said the bus is one of many fleets owned and operated by the Yellow Bus Line, one of the largest commuter companies in the restive region where the NPA is actively waging a secessionist war for many decades now.
Company executives did not give any statement, but it was not the first time the rebels carried out such attack on provincial buses in Mindanao with the military and police both saying that extortion was likely motive for the arson.
The attack occurred just a day after Jesus Dureza, the chief government peace negotiator, announced that Manila is resuming stalled peace talks with rebels and that a truce had been agreed upon by both sides over the weekend.
Dureza said the negotiations may start as early as next month after both sides finally to restart the peace talks after President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the negotiations in February following a series of deadly attacks by rebels who abandoned their own truce following the government’s rejection of their demand to free more than 400 rebels languishing in jails across the country.
Duterte wanted the rebels to agree on a bilateral ceasefire before releasing the prisoners, although he had freed about 2 dozen communist leaders so they can join the peace talks. (Mindanao Examiner)