NPA owns up to Butuan quarry raid; confirms govt aerial bombing run at Brgy Nongnong

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Personnel under the Butuan City Public Safety Company manning checkpoint at a road leading out of the city. Photographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Butuan City – The New People’s Army (NPA) of the North Central Mindanao Regional (NCMR) command released a statement on October 26, 2017 owning up to the recent attack on a quarry facility here, in which was torched heavy construction equipment amounting to some PhP9 million.

In the statement, the Maoist guerrilla group claimed that their members under the Western Agusan del Norte – Agusan del Sur (WANAS) Subregional Command spearheaded the attack on the Gil M. Cembrano (GMC) construction company as punishment for its “crime against the environment.”

“The WANAS operatives paralyzed four backhoes, a dump truck and a pay loader of GMC on October 21 in Purok 7, Barangay Bonbon, Butuan City, for the destruction they brought to the environment due to their quarry operations. GMC reportedly plans to expand their operation, which would completely result in demolition and dislocation of the resident communities,” said Ka Omar Ibarra, Spokesperson, WANAS, NPA-NCMR.

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NPA rebels resting under a tree along one of the towns near the Agusan del Norte border. Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Information from Captain Regie Go, Civil-Military Operation Officer (CMO) of the 402-Brigade indicated that a soldier was wounded and in one encounter with the NPA rebels.

The NPA statement also claimed government forces used aircraft to bomb the area near Brgy Nongnong, indicating several people confirmed the information, including a farmer from an adjacent area who confirmed that explosions and the sound of flying aircraft were heard on October 23.

Philippine National Police (PNP) sources acknowledged independently that the Army did call it in, but they were at a location far away.

Police Chief Inspector Renel E. Serrano, officer-in-charge of the public information office of Police Regional Office 13 (PRO13), explained that the military operation “might have been confidential.”

Serrano added that the police and Army have intensified operations to ensure security against possible threats especially for the upcoming All Souls and All Saints holidays on November 1 and 2.