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Construction workers drive away NPA, save truck

Workers of Venray Construction Corporation prevented Communist guerrillas from torching their construction equipment in their field office in Barangay Cabangahan, Malaybalay early morning Thursday.

Capt. Ryan Layug, the Civil-Military Operations officer of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said the employees woke up at 2:30 a.m. from an unusual noise and saw their company’s Bonggo truck already on fire.

“This prompted them respond and drive away the perpetrators who immediately escaped,” Layug said.

Accordingly, the workers immediately doused the flames with water and fire extinguisher, which also helped save the grader and the backhoe.

The fire truck from Barangay Aglayan arrived minutes later to completely stop the fire.

He said the perpetrators arrived on eight motorcycles and they fled the scene.

“The NPAs have been harassing the innocent civilians not just here in Bukidnon but also the other parts of the country,” Brig. Gen. Edgardo De Leon, the commander of the 403rd IB, said.

“The leadership of the CPP nad NDF should explain why they couldn’t discipline their forces that continue to attack civilians who are not involved in the fight between the soldiers and the NPA,” he said.

For now, investigators are focused on gathering information for the filing of an appropriate case against the rebels before the Commission on Human Rights X and the Regional Trial Court Branch 25 in Cagayan de Oro City.

The investigators will try to answer the following questions:

1. If the area that was attacked is a military camp or a civilian compound?
2. If the equipment burned owned by military or by civilian?
3. If the equipment burned ever used by military or involved in military operation against NPA?
4. If the people accosted by the NPA ever participated in military operations against the NPA?
5. If the Venray construction company involved in direct military operations against the NPA?

“We call on the Karapatan, which claims to be a citizens watch that monitors IHL violations, to do a parallel investigation to determine if the NPA indeed violated IHL (International Humanitarian Law) in this particular incident or not,” he added.

Meanwhile Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, the commander of 4th Infantry Division, commended the workers for their swift action and prevented the situation from getting worse.

“This incident proves that the local communists terrorists are no match to people who unite and resist, even if the people are unarmed,” Gacal said.

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