Tag Archive: Bukidnon


5 rebels killed in Bukidnon clash

Five New People’s Army members were killed while two soldiers were wounded as government troops clashed with a large band of rebels who ambushed them in Pangantucan, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, the military said Wednesday.

Troops recovered the slain rebels’ bodies, along with an AK-47 rifle, 19 back packs, food and medical supplies, and subversive documents, said Captain Albert Caber, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

An officer and an enlisted personnel of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Company (3rd SFC) were also wounded in the clash and have been taken to the hospital, Caber said by phone.

“Residents reported that there are at least five other rebels who have been wounded, so it’s possible that the casualties will rise. Clearing operations are ongoing as we speak,” he added.

The clash occurred 4:14 p.m. in Brgy. Mendiz, but was reported to the regional military command only Wednesday because of poor communication lines in the area, according to Caber.

Fighting lasted for one hour and 30 minutes before the rebels withdrew, he said.

According to Caber, elements of the 3rd SFC went to that barangay to check reports on the presence of NPA members.

“May nagreport kasi na may mga NPA dun, so pinuntahan ng SF to verify. While on their way, pinutukan na agad sila, so nagretaliate ‘yung SF. More or less 60 ‘yung nakalaban nila doon,” Caber said.

“Ambush talaga ang nangyari, kaya lang nakapag-return fire ‘yung SF,” he said.

The slain rebels have yet to be identified but information from the ground indicate that they were members of the North Central Mindanao Regional Commitee and were led by an alias “Andy,” Caber said.

Troops have already coordinated with the local government to help identify the slain rebels and facilitate their burial, he said. (John Roson)

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Two security guards were injured after a grenade thrown by a man during a fit of jealousy went off at a ranch in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, police reported.

Injured were Heusterio Magana and Richard Shaymanlao, both guards at the Lorenzo Ranch in Brgy. Dalirig, according to a report from the Bukidnon provincial police.

The explosion occurred around 9:50 a.m. at the ranch’s gate.

One Christopher Haton, a resident of Brgy. Dalirig, was seen hurling the grenade 20 meters away from the gate before the blast, according to the report.

Investigation indicated that Haton became jealous and angry after seeing the security guards glancing at his wife, so he lobbed a grenade at them.

Magana suffered wounds to his abdomen because of the blast, while Shaymanlao sustained wounds to the buttocks.

Both guards were taken to the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital Annex in Manolo Forthich for treatment. (John Roson)

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Police scour the RTMI bus that was bombed in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday. (police photo)

Police scour the RTMI bus that was bombed in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday. (police photo)

Authorities are looking at terrorism and extortion as possible motives in the bus bombing that left 10 people dead and 42 others injured in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, security officials said Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Aurelio Baladad, chief of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command, said investigation showed that the bomb had the “signature,” or make, similar to those assembled by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“‘Yung lumitaw, ‘yun na nga, ang signature ng bomb is BIFF,” Baladad told reporters by phone.

Police mark the spot at the overhead baggage carrier where the bomb is believed to have been planted. (police photo)

Police mark the spot at the overhead baggage carrier where the bomb is believed to have been planted. (police photo)

Another military official, who requested anonymity, said the make of the bomb – an 81-millimeter mortar ammunition detonated with a cellphone – points to the group of one Dawtin Gendang of the BIFF.

Gendang and new “graduates” of the BIFF appeared to have carried out the attack on the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) bus as “test mission,” the official told reporters.

Gendang was previously identified as a suspect in the bombing of another RTMI bus that injured four people last November 6, Inspector Jiselle Longakit, Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, said.

The bus door after the blast. (Army photo)

The bus door after the blast. (Army photo)

The BIFF, according to the military, has links with bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman who is connected with the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and is wanted by both the Philippines and United States.

The group has also recently expressed support to the Middle East-based jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Tuesday’s explosion occurred inside an RTMI bus around 5:40 p.m. while it was passing through Maramag, on the way to Cagayan de Oro City.

Police said on Tuesday that the bus came from Wao, Lanao del Sur, but stated on Wednesday that it came from Banisilan, North Cotabato.

The blast happened in front of the main gate of the Central Mindanao University (CMU), shortly after the bus picked up passengers at a nearby bus stop.

The blast killed Kim Valiente, 17; Anita Santillan, 54; Marielle Achacoso, 17; Niezel Dee Gonzaga, 22; Catherine Villahermosa, Johnrey Valdesco, John Bernard Cuhanap, Jonathan Balida, Michael Buctos, and a still unidentified person. Some of them are students of CMU.

Forty-two other persons, some of whom are also CMU students, were hurt and taken to different hospitals.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, in a statement, called the bombing a “barbaric” act and called on people to help authorities identify the attackers.

“We condole with the families of the victims of this tragic incident. The DND thru the AFP is in full support and cooperation with the PNP to get to the bottom of this barbaric act,” Gazmin said.

The defense chief declined to say what angles are being looked into, stating that the DND was still waiting for results of the investigation.

Longakit said investigators are initially looking at extortion as a possible motive but have not set aside terrorism.

“We are still coordinating with the bus company on that (extortion angle),” she said, adding that terrorism has “not yet” been ruled out.

A statement released later by the provincial police said the management of RTMI “refused to give extortion fee,” but did not point to any group. (John Roson)

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The mayor of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, died after suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members ambushed his convoy this morning (Wednesday), authorities said.

Mayor Mario Okinlay was brought to the Malaybalay Polymedic Hospital because of a bullet wound, but he expired after a few hours, Maj. Christian Uy, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said by phone.

Okinlay’s convoy was passing through Brgy. Bontongon around 8:20 a.m., when it was fired upon by at least three armed men, Uy said.

Okinlay and 20 employees of the local government unit and policemen were riding motorcycles, followed by a team of soldiers from the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion who were on a 6×6 truck, he said.

The soldiers returned fire, but the assailants quickly fled, Uy said.

Insp. Joann Galvez, Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, said Okinlay had just finished conducting a public service program called “Hatod Serbisyo” in Bontongon and was returning to Brgy. Poblacion – located some 18 kilometers away – when suspected NPA members ambushed the convoy.

The mayor suffered a bullet wound to the abdomen during the attack, she said.

Around 11:30 a.m., Okinlay’s brother Dodo, a barangay kagawad, confirmed to police that the mayor passed away, Galvez said.

Authorities suspect the NPA of carrying out the attack because of previous intelligence reports on the rebels’ plan to kill the mayor, she said.

Last June 25, the provincial police’s intelligence branch told the Impasug-ong Police about the NPA’s plan to liquidate Okinlay, Galvez said.

This prompted the town’s police chief to meet with the mayor that day to discuss precautionary and preventive measures, she said.

Uy, for his part, said the rebels might be angry with Okinlay for cooperating with government troops.

“Nakikipag-coordinate siya sa amin, including on this medical mission sa Bontongon. Siguro gusto nilang (rebels) i-discredit yung mga ganitong programs ng local governments with the military,” Uy said, adding that Impasug-ong was once a “rebel-influenced” area.

All police stations in the province have been told to be on the alert and “advise their respective mayors to be cautious because of the incident,” Galvez said.

The provincial police has activated a special investigation task group to identify and charge those who killed Okinlay, while other police units and Army troops were sent to pursue the assailants, she added. (John Roson)

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Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members staged simultaneous attacks on agro-industrial firms Del Monte and Dole’s compounds in Bukidnon on Tuesday evening, killing a security guard and injuring two others, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Eugenio Osias, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division said about 50 rebels conducted the attack on Del Monte’s plantation in Camp Philips, Manolo Fortich.

The rebels, who arrived on three vans and two trucks around 6:30 p.m., burned a tractor, sprayer, and other equipment of Del Monte then shot the company’s guards, Osias said by phone.

A guard initially identified as Boboy Neri was killed in the attack while two other guards named Franklin Millanes and Boboy Jumawan were wounded, according to the regional Army spokesman.

The rebels also “ransacked” buildings inside the compound and took civilians employees’ cellphones, laptops, and other valuables, Osias said.

Around the same time, an undetermined number of rebels also raided Dole’s plantation in Impasug-ong, where they took a guard’s caliber-.38 pistol, he said.

As this was going on, other rebels also conducted “checkpoints” in Brgy. La Fortuna, Impasug-ong, as well as in the town of Sumilao, Osias said.

Policemen from Manolo Fortich were stripped of two M16 rifles and an M14 rifle at one rebel roadblock, while civilians’ cellphones were confiscated, he said.

“Tapos naglagay sila ng mga spikes sa daan din, ang daming tinamaan na mga sasakyan,” Osias said.

While withdrawing from the Del Monte plantation towards Brgy. Dahilayan, the rebels temporarily held a barangay chairman and some habal-habal drivers, who they used as “human shields” against pursuing troops, he said.

The abducted barangay chairman was confirmed to have been released Wednesday morning.

Local police have been sent to secure and conduct investigation at the areas while members of the 8th and 58th Infantry Battalions were scattered to pursue the rebels, he said.

“Sa ngayon contained na ‘yung area,” said Osias. (John Roson)

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Five people were killed while at least 23 others, including a policeman, were injured when a 10-wheeler truck went wayward and swept four other vehicles in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday afternoon, police said.

Supt. Ronnie Francis Cariaga, Northern Mindanao regional police spokesman, identified the fatalities as Hardlyn Else Placencia, Rey Regulacion, Apolinario Obial Migalbio, Paulo Bajan, and Ruben Botal.

Among the injured are Pacita Aguilar, Janet Jumanguin, Jose Taruc, Rene Cadiz, Roel Rivera, Mona Luna Trasi, Evelyn Soco, Wenceslao Amad, Millyn Cruz Abelo, Ma. Liza Catalan, Madelyn Pabillore, Flordiliza Aninao, Florence Aninao, Claudine Cruza, Alexander Pailagao, Joseph Rosal, Catalina Lahera, Ryan Mark Ayunar, Muna Pangatan, Rodolfo AbrogueƱa, and Miraflor Terante, who were all taken to the Puerto Community Hospital, Cariaga said.

PO1 Julios Lomongo, assigned at the Valencia City Police Station in Bukidnon, was also injured along with others who were brought to different hospitals, Cariaga said, citing a report from the Cagayan de Oro City Police.

The incident occurred around 4:45 p.m. along the National Highway in Purok 6, Upper Puerto.

Investigation indicated that Francisco Junio was driving the Fuso 10-wheeler truck (MVH-503), which was loaded with empty softdrink bottles, when the vehicle’s brakes malfunctioned.

“‘Yun ang sinasabi nung driver, hindi niya na-control ang sasakyan kasi di niya magamit ‘yung break niya,” Supt. Antonio Montalba, officer-in-charge of the Cagayan de Oro City Police, said.

The truck swept the passenger jeepney (KVP-291) driven by AbrogueƱa, a Kia Sorento (ZFJ-717) driven by Rubelie Cabiguin, the brand new Honda XR motorcycle driven by Lomongo, and the Isuzu Elf aluminum van (RMK-353) driven by Milky Cagas, who was also injured.

Junio is now detained at the Cagayan de Oro City Police Station 6 and will be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, multiple serious physical injuries, and damage to property. (John Roson)

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‘Pablo’ kills 2; 4 missing

Two people were killed while four others were reported missing when typhoon “Pablo” slammed into Mindanao Tuesday morning, police said.

Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental Provincial Police director, identified the fatalities as Erlinda Balante, 64, of Manay, and Rossel Along, 22, of Caraga town.

Balante died when her house in Brgy. Poblacion collapsed due to strong winds, while Along was killed after he slipped from the stairs amid the storm’s onslaught, Mitra said in a phone interview.

Four people were reported missing in different areas while two people were injured in Caraga, he said.

“Pablo,” the strongest storm to hit the country this year, made landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, around 4:45 a.m.

The storm packed maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 195 kph as it moved west-northwest at 20 kph.

In Caraga town, the storm toppled electric posts and trees, leaving the main road impassable to vehicles.

“Ang sitwasyon ng kalsada unpassable pa hanggang sa ngayon, marami pong mga malalaking puno, puno ng niyog, at saka mga poste, kable ng kuryente ang nakaharang sa daan,” Mitra said, adding that clearing operations by the DPWH and police were underway.

Liza Mazo, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Southern Mindanao, said floods, landslides, and storm surges caused by the storm damaged a number of roads, bridges, in davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

Among those that experienced landslides were Compostela Valley’s gold-rush area, Mt. Diwata, while storm surges hit Davao Oriental’s coastal towns of Banay-Banay, Manay, and Boston.

Around 10 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services administration tracked the center of the storm to 50 kilometers east of Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

“It is starting to trip electric posts and trees in Bukidnon. Moderate heavy rains are also felt in Bukidnon,” Chief Supt. Gil Hitosis, Northern Mindanao regional police director, said in a text message 10 a.m.

Malaybalay City experienced a power outage amid strong winds, he said.

In Western Visayas, local governments suspended classes at different levels in Capiz, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, and Guimaras, regional police director, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz said. (John Roson)

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A New People’s Army (NPA) member and a young boy got killed while 11 civilians, including several children, were wounded when a grenade exploded in Kibawe, Bukidnon, military and police officials said.

The explosion occurred around 11:30 a.m. Monday while NPA members were holding community classes at Sitio Silahis, Brgy. Sampaguita, Col. Leopoldo Galon, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said.

“A grenade accidentally fell from one of their (NPA) members and exploded,” Galon said in a text message to reporters Monday night.

An NPA member died on the spot while 10-year-old Rolly Sabellena was declared dead on arrival at the hospital, Supt. Canilo Fuentes, deputy director of the Bukidnon provincial police, said.

“Malayo at liblib na ‘yung lugar na pinangyarihan, nalaman na lang ng local police natin doon nung may mga dinala sa ospital na biktima ng explosion,” Fuentes said in a phone interview.

Galon identified the injured as Barceliza Sabellano, 42, Sanny Boy Matunhay, 12, Robert Dumaguit, 11, Bernie Teric, 12, Jakerey Antivo, 12, all of Brgy. Sampaguita; Julieben Matunhay, 20, Samson Matunhay, 16; Emmanuel Matunhay, 9, Rogelio Buhawe Jr., 9, Aldie Capunay, 18, all of Brgy. Pinamula; and Daniel Meras, 19, of Brgy. Cagawas.

All the injured are still recuperating at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, while the Kibawe Police and Army 8th Infantry Battalion are investigating the incident for filing criminal charges and human rights cases, Galon said. (John Roson)

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see update

A New People’s Army (NPA) member got killed while 11 civilians, including several children, were wounded when a grenade exploded in Kibawe, Bukidnon, a military spokesman said.

The explosion occurred around 11:30 a.m. Monday while NPA members were holding community classes at Sitio Silahis, Brgy. Sampaguita, Col. Leopoldo Galon, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said.

“A grenade accidentally fell from one of their (NPA) members and exploded,” Galon said in a text message to reporters Monday night.

The lone fatality is an NPA member while all the wounded are residents, he said.

Galon identified the injured as Barceliza Sabellano, 42, Sanny Boy Matunhay, 12, Robert Dumaguit, 11, Bernie Teric, 12, Jakerey Antivo, 12, all of Brgy. Sampaguita; Julieben Matunhay, 20, Samson Matunhay, 16; Emmanuel Matunhay, 9, Rogelio Buhawe Jr., 9, Aldie Capunay, 18, all of Brgy. Pinamula; and Daniel Meras, 19, of Brgy. Cagawas.

All those who were injured have been taken to the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, while the Kibawe Police and Army 8th Infantry Battalion are investigating the incident for filing criminal charges and human rights cases, Galon said. (John Roson)

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80 rebels surrender in Bukidnon

A former New People’s Army (NPA) officer and 79 followers surrendered to government troops in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Monday, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Benjamin Salusad alias Nonong/Loloy/Ben, former commanding officer of the NPA Guerrilla Front 6’s Sangay sa Platon Pampropaganda 3, and his followers went to the 8th Infantry Battalion headquarters around 11 a.m., Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman Maj. Eugenio Osias said.

The rebels brought seven M16-A1 rifles, five M653 rifles, an M14 rifle, three Garand rifles, two Browning Automatic Rifles, six Carbine rifles, a Thompson sub-machinegun, claymore mine, and other armaments, Osias said.

Of those who surrendered, 31 were “full-time” NPA members while the 49 are members of the “Militia ng Bayan.” Seventy of them are males and 10 are females, Osias said.

The surrenderees, mostly members of the Tiggwahanon, Matigsalog, and Manobo tribes, joined the NPA in hopes to protect their “ancestral domain” among others, but left because of the rebel group’s “discrimination” towards indigenous peoples, according to Osias.

Colonel Romeo Gapuz, commander of the 403rd Brigade, said the surrender and handing over of firearms of the 80 decreased the NPA Guerilla Front 6’s strength and firepower by as much as 25 percent.

The military promised to provide the surrenderees financial and livelihood assistance. (John Roson)

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