Arson destruction placed at P1 M

Damage to the three cargo trucks and a tractor burned by a group of armed men Sunday in Hacienda San Andres, Brgy. Andres Bonifacio, Cadiz City, has been placed at about P1 million, the police said.

Police investigations showed that their owner, Raul Santa Ana, had reportedly received extortion demands, before the burning incident. Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, however, said he cannot say yet if the suspects are members of the New People’s Army, as their investigation is still ongoing. Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said the armed men suspected to be NPA members, also harassed a military outpost in the barangay. Investigations by the Cadiz police show that nine armed men entered the hacienda compound of Santa Ana, bringing containers filled with gasoline, which they poured on the trucks and the tractor before setting them on fire.

Another cargo truck loaded with sugarcane was spared, apparently because it was not owned by Santa Ana. After burning the cargo trucks and the tractor before leaving the armed men, who did not identify themselves as NPA members, also fired their guns. Twenty-five empty shells of an M16 assault rifle were recovered by the police, BFP probers and Army soldiers, from the hacienda compound. Police investigations show that such incidents usually occur during the milling season, and are intended to remind or punish sugar planters, who fail to pay the revolutionary taxes demanded from them by the NPA. *

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