MANILA, Philippines – Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members burned heavy equipment at an ongoing government construction project along the national highway in the boundaries of Manjuyod and Bindoy towns in Negros Oriental, beforew dawn today.
The heavy equipment, which included a backhoe, a crane, two dump trucks and bulldozer, were parked for the night at the multimillion-peso project site in the adjacent barangays of Malaga in Bindoy and Sitio Alawihaw, Barangay Bala-as in Manjuyod, specifically at the winding Himampangon Road, police said.
Initial police investigation showed that at least three suspected NPA rebels arrived at the project site and started pouring gasoline on the heavy equipment owned by the LL Construction, a construction company owned by Lawrence Limkaichong, husband of 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong, said provincial police director, Senior Superintendent Edward Carranza.
Carranza said none of the workers were injured.
Police said at least three armed rebels arrived in the Bindoy area around 1 a.m. and tried to set fire to a backhoe and a crane with the use of improvised incendiary materials but their attempt failed. The suspects then went over to a bulldozer and at gunpoint told the watchman, Cain Cadallo Tobias, to get out.
Tobias told the police that some 30 meters away from the grader, he heard what sounded like an explosion. Police were still trying to determine what type of explosive was used.
The suspects then crossed the bridge over to where the dump trucks were parked at Sitio Alawihaw, poured gasoline and set them on fire. One of the dump trucks was half-burned while the other one did not incur any damage as a fire truck and firefighters from nearby Bais City responded to the scene.
Manjuyod town police chief, Senior Inspector Wilfredo Villoria, said some of the workers who were sleeping in a bunkhouse when the rebels attacked. When they were roused from sleep during the attack, they threw stones at the suspects, who fired warning shots sending the workers scampering to safety, he added.
The police recovered five empty shells of caliber .45 pistol and two spent shells of caliber .9mm from the Manjuyod crime scene and another one spent shell of .9mm caliber at the adjacent Bindoy crime scene, Villoria said.