By Francis T. Wakefield
The military said yesterday that it is investigating the reported burning by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas of a 35-seater Yellow Bus Line air-conditioned bus in Sto. Niño town, South Cotabato, Tuesday night.
Army Captain Marvin Gammad, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said military authorities are currently coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the investigation of the incident.
He added that to prevent a repeat of the burning of buses, patrol operations are being conducted to monitor the possible movement of the perpetrators.
“Coordination has been done with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to determine the identity of the perpetrators,” Gammad said.
Gammad disclosed that the arson incident took place at Purok Pioneer, Brgy. Poblacion, Sto. Niño town, South Cotabato, at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ten armed men, eight of them pretended to be passengers, were reported to have burned the bus.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
Gammad said the passenger bus, which came from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, was on its way to Koronadal, South Cotabato, when upon reaching Brgy. Poblacion, the armed men ordered the driver to stop.
The suspects then allegedly introduced themselves as NPA guerrillas and told the passengers that they will burn the bus.
From there, the suspects ordered the driver, conductor and passengers to disembark from the passenger bus.
Gammad said two of the armed men who waited for the bus’ arrival in the area were the ones who poured gasoline into the bus and lit it. Extortion is said to be the motive behind the incident.
This is the fourth time that a Yellow Bus Line bus was burned by armed men since November of this year, he said.