Army foils NPA attack on gov’t project in Sultan Kudarat

SAVED FROM BURNING. Government forces inspect the heavy equipment of a road construction firm that communist rebels attempted to set ablaze on July 3, in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. (Photo from Army’s 37th IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Philippines — Government forces securing road construction projects in a remote village in Sultan Kudarat province have foiled an attempt by communist rebels to burn some heavy equipment, an Army official said.

About 30 New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas showed up at 2 p.m. Friday at a government road concreting project in Barangay Kinalaan of Kalamansig town and told civilian workers to back off for they would set ablaze the heavy equipment, said Lt. Col. Allen Van Estrera, commander of the 37th Infantry Battalion.

Soldiers who were tasked to secure the project quickly responded and traded shots with the rebels.

The firefight lasted for about 40 minutes and the rebels fled with their wounded companions.

“Our troops, although outnumbered, foiled the attack and safely secured the construction equipment,” Estrera said.

One soldier suffered a shrapnel wound, Estrera added.

He said that government troops found traces of blood in the escape route of the rebels, indicating they could have suffered some fatalities.

Estrera said the attackers could likely belong to the West Daguma Front headed by a certain Datu Gawa Gantangan, and Glenn Sakudal alias Dennis of the Far South Mindanao Region Command.

Estrera said the rebels tried to burn the equipment of JANMERC construction because the construction firm ignored the rebels’ demand for “protection money.”

Military officials said the rebels are also disrupting the completion of the road project as it will provide easy access for government service providers to the geographically isolated communities in the town where they are also building their guerrilla base.

Brig. Gen. Wilbur Mamawag, commander of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, lauded the sustained vigilance of his troops in securing the government highway project.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, 6th Infantry Division commander and head of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC), lauded the soldiers’ timely response that saved the multi-million worth of heavy equipment.

In June last year, NPA rebels burn eight heavy equipment, also in Barangay Kinalaan, owned by JANMERC Construction Company.


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