Rebels torch another truck in Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Suspected communist guerrillas operating in North Cotabato set on fire anew a heavy equipment owned by a private construction firm here around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, police official said.

Inspector Rolando Dillera, chief of the investigation division of the Kidapawan City police, said at least five armed suspects, onboard two motorcycles, arrived at Purok-5 in barangay San Roque here, and immediately poured gasoline on a 10-wheeler dump truck parked at the quarry site.

The truck, bearing plate number RGJ 602, is owned by the Sarangani Rock Mixer, a construction firm doing rehabilitation of the national highway along Antipas and Arakan towns in North Cotabato.

Orlando Balondo, chair of Barangay San Roque, said the truck was loading loose material, such as sand and gravel, for road construction when the suspects, armed with calibre 45 pistols, disembarked from their motorcycles and poked guns on the driver and the truck helpers.

The suspects carried gallons of gasoline, which they hid in a sack, and poured the contents on the vehicle.

They, however, spared a backhoe parked at the riverbank. The backhoe is owned by a certain Genis Dasok.

The suspects identified themselves as members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA). Authorities have hinted extortion was behind the arson.

Balonto said before the suspects left the place, they told the construction workers their employer failed to yield to their demands.

The burning of heavy equipment last Saturday was the second in the city this month.

On February 10, six armed men who identified themselves as NPAs torched five heavy equipment owned by the RDI Construction Company doing road rehabilitation along Kidapawan-Makilala highway.

Extortion was also believed the motive behind the arson.

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