ITOGON, BENGUET – Armed men who identified themselves as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) burned two trucks of Philex Mining Corporation at Sitio Tadak, Barangay Central Ampocao, Itogon, Benguet at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Padcal Mines legal officer Eduardo Aratas said the trucks, loaded with gold ore, were on their way to Poro Point in La Union, when a group of armed men wearing ski masks flagged down the trucks.
The armed men introduced themselves as members of the NPA and started burning the trucks.
Police authorities who conducted initial investigation said the armed men ordered the drivers to alight from the truck and move away.
The security escort was also ordered to alight and move away from the trucks after taking his firearm and two-way radio.
The report stated that other vehicles were allowed to pass through before the armed men burned the trucks.
The Police Regional Office – Cordillera Region (PRO-Cor) in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) based in the region are now conducting land and aerial pursuit operation for the possible arrest of the suspects.
Check points were set up along the highways to inspect vehicles traveling to and from the municipality.
Meanwhile, Philex truck drivers Danny Bucay Aglugob and Rogelio dela Cruz Dulaguete, and security escort Danny Halip Bag-an were unharmed.
Police said the armed group may belong to the Chadli Molintas command of the NPA operating within the tri-boundaries of the Cordillera, Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions. PNA/Dionisio Dennis/STRINGER with report from William Garcia-northboundasia.com