CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Soldiers conducting security patrol unearthed packed foods, medical supplies and rice in 67 big plastic containers buried in a remote village in Bukidnon, the military reported Thursday.
Lt. Sancho Tomaquin, spokesman for the Army’s 88th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Maramag town, said the buried items were found on Wednesday while the troops were conducting focused military operations in Barangay Bulacao of Concepcion town which is a few kilometers from Valencia City.
Tomaquin said that the troops were dispatched to the area after concerned residents tipped off the police and military of the presence of armed groups conducting extortion activities in the village.
The unidentified armed group was believed to be members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) whom community residents accused of extorting from them supplies in cash and in kind, Tomaquin said.
He added that the residents claimed they were already tired and afraid of the NPA extortion activities, especially when they are forced to provide food, money, materials and transport the supplies to the terrorist’s supply drop-off points.
The military said the unearthed materials and supplies were believed to be the same items the NPA purportedly collected through extortion in the villages in Concepcion and in the nearby city of Valencia.
In a statement, Lt. Colonel Randy Remonte, commanding officer of the 88IB of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, thanked the residents of Barangay Concepcion for their support.
“We would not be able to locate the items without the vigilance and cooperation of residents in the area. The incident is another manifestation that the NPA terrorists are losing the support of the people,” Remonte said.
He also warned that aiding the terrorists is against the law as provided under Section 4 of Republic Act 10168 or the Act defining the crime of financing terrorism.