MANILA—Military units are now pursuing New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents who terrorized students of Sta. Cruz Elementary School in Rosario Agusan Del Sur after burning a prime mover near the facility on Tuesday.
Reports from the 401st Infantry Brigade disclosed that the NPAs flagged down and burned the truck at the national road, just 300 meters away from the school, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement Wednesday.
The prime mover was drawing a container van of bananas from Sumifru Corporation. It came from Tagbina town and was bound for Davao. Its batteries and tires were partially burned.
“Worried parents rushed to the school to fetch their children upon learning of the incident. They condemned the NPA upon seeing their kids trembling in fear. They vowed to report to us the presence of the NPA next time,” 401st Infantry Brigade commander Col. Cristobal N. Zaragoza said.
He also suspects that the NPAs deliberately planned to perpetrate the crime near the school to slow down responding government forces.
“This incident only underscores the NPA’s clear disregard for human life. They endanger the lives of innocent civilians, even children just to attain their ends of bleeding money from private companies,” Arevalo added.
“Rest assured that our operations to frustrate the ends of the NPA will continue. And they will be deliberate, focused, surgical, and intelligence driven to ensure the safety of our people, especially children,” he stressed.