ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels strafed a low-flying aircraft that was spraying fertilizer on a farm in Tagbina town and wounded its pilot over the weekend in Surigao del Sur.
Despite his wound, Captain Lynbert Laguda Sr. managed to safely land his aircraft and rush to the hospital, but he died from loss of blood from a gunshot wound he sustained in the body.
The plane bore three bullet holes – on the fuselage near the cockpit, wings and on the nose near the engine.
A member of the Agricultural Aviator Association of the Philippines, Laguda was a seasoned pilot from Dana Farms Aviation Inc. based in Davao City. He was flying a single-engine biplane Grumman G-164 Ag Cat agricultural.
Authorities said the NPA rebels have previously threatened to attack agricultural aircraft in the restive region where the communist group had been extorting money from aviation firms.
Meanwhile, Laguda’s son – Lynbert II – also an agricultural pilot, asked Paolo Duterte, to bring the matter to the attention of his father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Vice [Mayor Paolo Duterte], please help me, kindly tell the President what happened to my daddy, please,” he said in an exchange of text messages between him and the young Duterte.
Paolo, who resigned as vice mayor of Davao City after being linked to the controversial P64-billion shabu importation, expressed anger over the rebel attack as he condoled with Laguda’s family. He said he assured them that he would inform his father about the tragedy.
There was no immediate reaction from the NPA on the killing of the pilot.