A 10-wheeler cargo truck and a farm tractor were burned by two unidentified suspects at about 1 a.m. yesterday in Sitio Acacia, Brgy. Tapi, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
Supt. Calixto Mabugat, Kabankalan police chief, said damage to the partially burned cargo truck and farm tractor owned by Elma Erasmo, was placed at P300,000 by arson investigators of the Bureau of Fire and Protection.
The burning incident came two days after suspected New People’s Army rebels also set on fire the sugarcane plantation and a 10-wheeler cargo truck owned by Gerardo Titular in Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City.
Mabugat, however, said they cannot determine yet if the two suspects are NPA members, and are also looking into the possibility that the burning incident may have been perpetrated by disgruntled farm workers.
He said they have received a report that the partially burned cargo truck had sideswiped a minor in previous weeks.
1Lt. Rey Balibagoso, 47th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operations officer, said a team of soldiers led by 1Lt. Ariel Galimba, who responded to the burning incident, recovered a .45 caliber pistol at the scene of the incident, believed to have been left behind by the fleeing suspects.
Police investigations also showed two sets of footprints at the suspects’ withdrawal route.*GPB
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ramil Bitong, 11th Infantry Battalion commander, said the 10-wheeler truck owned by Titular was flagged down and burned by seven suspected rebels, three of them wearing camouflage uniforms, and carrying high-powered firearms.