Alleged NPA rebels burn bus in North Cotabato

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Alleged members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) torched a bus plying the Tacurong-Davao route on Monday, March 13.

The incident occurred at around 8:45 am Monday along the highway in Bagong Silang, Makilala, North Cotabato. Barangay Bagong Silang is just 3 kilometers away from the Makilala bus terminal.

Superintendent Romeo Galgo Jr, regional police spokesman, blamed the NPA for the attack.

Aceh Villarin and her 3-year-old daughter were among the estimated 50 passengers of the bus, which is owned by Yellow Bus Lines.

Villarin said the suspects were all in the bus, one of whom suddenly asked the bus driver to stop. "Nagdagan ang bus, naay Lima ka armadong lalaki ning tindog, ang isa misinggit, Sige naug na mong tanan, Ayaw mo ug kahadluk, Ayaw mo ug kabalaka, ang among tuyo kining bus lang," Villarin told Rappler.

(While the bus was running, 5 armed men stood up, one of them shouted, everyone disembark, do not be scared, do not be afraid, Do not worry, we just want the bus.)

"We were scared but they told us to disembark so we followed the order," she said in the local dialect.

"It is very unfortunate this incident happened when we just learned that the talks between the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines] and the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] is about to resume," Makilala Municipal Mayor Rudy S. Caoagdan told Rappler. (READ: PH, NDF agree to resume formal peace talks)

"It is very unfortunate. I cannot feel the sincerity," Caoagdan said. – Rappler.com