COMPOSTELA VALLEY – Authorities are conducting a manhunt operation against alleged New People's Army (NPA) rebels who hijacked two trucks carrying almost a thousand sacks of rice Wednesday.
The truck drivers were about to have dinner in Poblacion Mawab, when armed men who identified themselves as NPA approached them and told them to return to their trucks, one of the drivers said.
The suspects took over their trucks and brought them to a secluded area in Barangay Calabcab in the neighboring town of Maco.
From Maco, they were transferred to a different vehicle and released in Panabo City.
"Don't be afraid, we are members of NPA. We just want to teach your boss. We only want the rice," the suspects told one of the drivers in the local dialect.
The other driver told police they did not recognize the suspects since they were blindfolded.
Authorities were able to recover ten sacks of rice in the house of a certain Oliver Hedraga, and around 100 sacks of rice in another house in Purok 2 of Barangay Calabcab.
Officials have yet to locate the missing trucks.