3 in copper trucks burning nabbed

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La Trinidad, Benguet: Police here arrested three suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the burning of two trucks loaded with copper concentrate owned by Philex Mining Corp. last Thursday in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon town.

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Police Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PRO-Cor) deputy regional director for operations, identified the suspects as Antonio Cabalser, Sarah Abeleon and Marciano Passon Sagun who were turned over to the Philippine Army’s 503rd Brigade on Friday night.

About 20 rebels armed with long firearms flagged down the trucks along the highway of Sitio Tapak, ordered the drivers and security escorts to alight and torched the trucks loaded with 20 tons of copper concentrate.

A hot pursuit operation continues for the other NPA members in the Thursday incident while checkpoints have been installed along Kennon Road, Naguillian Road and Halsema Marcos Highway to preempt any retaliation from the rebel group after the arrest of their three comrades.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan allayed the residents’ fear saying that Baguio and the province of Benguet are safe despite the recent atrocities by rebel groups.

Tension gripped the public over the weekend following posts on social media over the alleged entry of terrorists groups, including the Abu Sayyaf Group. There were also reports of encounters between the alleged NPA men and government forces at Camp 4 in Tuba and having the city in “red alert status”.

But officials quickly belied the unfounded reports.

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