MANILA, Philippines – Eight buses in a bus terminal were burned down by suspected members of the New People's Army in the town of Lemery early Sunday morning, police said.
Senior Superintendent Omega Jireh Fidel, the Batangas police director, said around 15 heavily armed men wearing camouflage entered the terminal of Jam Liner, Inc. in Barangay Palanas at around 12:55 a.m.
Upon entering the compound, the suspected rebels immediately disarmed the two guards, identified as Welijado Banastao, 32, and Marlon Pineda, 27, of the D-Black Pretorians Security Agency.
The suspects then doused the buses with gasoline and ordered all drivers and conductors who were sleeping inside the buses to step out from their vehicles.
PO2 Richard Caragay, Lemery police investigator, said one of the bus employees quoted the rebels as saying: “Huwag kayong makialam, mga NPA kami, hindi kayo ang pakay namin kundi ang management.”
Caragay said prior to the burning, the bus management had received an extortion letter from the rebels last October or November, asking for an undetermined amount of money.
Witnesses said the suspects then escaped onboard two vans, colored white and blue, and then sped towards the town of Calaca.
The suspects also took the guards’ caliber .38 revolver and shotgun, one handheld radio, the power supply for their desk computer and a cellphone owned by one of the guards.
No one was reported hurt in the incident.
A hot pursuit and a dragnet operation were immediately conducted by Batangas police against the fleeing suspects. Report from Arnell Ozaeta, DZMM.