La Trinidad, Benguet— The police here arrested three suspected members of the New People’s Army who reportedly burned two Volvo Trucks owned by Philex Mining Corporation last February 9 at Sitio Tapak, Barangay Ampucao in Itogon town.
Police Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Deputy Regional Director for Operations of Police Regional Office-Cordillera,identified the suspects as Antonio Cabalser, Sarah Abeleon and Marciano Passon Sagun, now under the custody of 503rd Brigade of the Philippine Army based at the Loakan Airport in Baguio.
Authorities are now gathering information if the three are members of the communist rebels.
Casimiro said that the burning incident was allegedly committed by five members of the NPA with long firearms including an “amazon” (military tag for female communist kadre)
The PROCOR has issued a statement condemning the act, saying it created panic and fear of residents in the area.
P/Chief Supt.. Elmo Francis Oco Sarona appealed to the rebels to spare the city especially its people. “Please don’t disturb the peace and tranquility of Benguet province. The peace-loving people here want to live without fear and free from any form of terroristic act,” Sarona added.
Joint forces of Benguet PPO, BCPO, RPSB, and members of the 3rd ISU responded to the incident and are currently conducting a hot pursuit operation while continuous investigation and intensified information gathering is on-going to determine the identities of the assailants for their possible arrest and neutralization.
It was learned that with the NPA anniversary next month, the PNP expects more barbaric activities on or before the said date but has prepared for these eventualities and the PRO-Cordillera will continue to provide security and safety to the public.
Police authorities said that checkpoints have been installed in Kennon Road, Naguillian Road and Halsema including Marcos Highway to preempt any incident after the arrest of the three suspected rebels.
Meanwhile an NPA member was arrested last February 8 at La Trinidad for frustrated murder, but the identity of the person has not been released.
It will be recalled that President Duterte has scrapped the peace talks in Rome between the government and the communist National Democratic Front and declared an all-out war against the rebels who have been waging their “class struggle” for almost 50 years, the longest insurgency in the world.