Alleged NPA members torch passenger bus in South Cotabato

Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2016 12:58 AM

Photo courtesy of the Tantangan Police Station

SOUTH COTABATO- The engine compartment of a passenger bus was torched by unidentified men in Barangay Bukay Pait, Tantangan in South Cotabato Sunday night.

The bus driver of the Husky Bus who asked not to be identified said he picked up six passengers in front of a mall in Tacurong City.

When they reached the area of Tantangan, a passenger seated next to him pulled out a gun and introduced himself as a member of the New People’s Army.

The suspect then ordered him to stop and drop off two female passengers in front of a church and instructed him to drive again and proceed to a road near Lagos Farm in Barangay Bukay Pait.

“Ang sabi lang nila, walang mangyayari sa akin kapag sundin ko lang ang gusto nila,” he said.

(He said nothing will happen to me if I just follow their instructions.)

There he saw three more men with motorcycles, carrying sacks with gallons of gasoline.

“Nung nakapasok na kami sinabi na niya na iwanan na ang bus kasi sila na daw ang bahala,” the driver said.

The suspects poured gas on the bus, torched it and fired a pistol before leaving the scene.

Water sprinklers inside the bus saved it from further damage.

Police recovered five empty containers of gasoline, bamboo torches, and a spent 9mm cartridge.

Police have yet to name the group of suspects.

“According sa statement ng driver, nagpakilalang members ng NPA, pero pwedeng ibang grupo sila at sabihin lang nilang NPA sila,” Police Chief Inspector Virlen Pampolina said.

(The driver’s statement said the suspects were members of the NPA but it’s possible that they are a different group and are just claiming to be members of the NPA.)