Cop killed, 3 wounded as NPA attacks Kibawe police station

MALAYBALAY CITY  (Bukidnon News/12 December) A police officer was killed and three others were wounded as armed men attacked the police station in Kibawe town in southern Bukidnon, Police C/Insp. Rene Berico, public information officer of the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office said.

Berico told this reporter via telephone still undetermined number of armed men believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) arrived around 5a.m. today in five Toyota Hi-Ace vans and attacked the station.

He identified the fatality as SPO2 Rodelfin Alonzo Sr. and the three wounded as PO3 Junerey Maniego, PO3 Jomar Juban, and PO2 Eliezar Lacoste.

Berico refused to reveal additional information as of 11a.m. as investigation is still ongoing.

Police S/Supt. Glenn Dela Torre, provincial director in an interview with DXDB identified the attackers as “bandits”. He said he ordered the conduct of checkpoints by all police stations in the province as part of the reaction in the pursuit of the perpetrators.

He condemned “at the highest” level the attack. He admitted a visit he made in the station last Tuesday to heighten readiness of the station.

But he said with the volume of firing the preparedness was overpowered.

Mayor Minerva Casinabe said firing started at around 4:45a.m. She saw the firing from her house as she was preparing to jog. She told DXDB she managed to call for help from police and the military only after the attack.

She said the perpetrators carted eight firearms based on an initial account from Kibawe police chief Butch Ian Miñoza. She noted that they are still accounting other properties.

Casinabe described the police station as heavily damaged. The perpetrators also attacked the fire station and carted two radio units from there.

The mayor cited reports the perpetrators exited via the villages of Sanipon and Tumaras.

Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr, who responded to the area around 7:30p.m. vowed to address the problem of insurgency in the province via dialogue.

“I extend my hand for peace. If the (peace process) is not solved in the national (level), we can do it in local,” he added in his interview with DXDB Thursday morning.

Zubiri appealed to the armed men “in the mountains” to spare Bukidnon in its attacks.

He said he is willing to sit down and talk peace with the group. He assured the NPA the provincial government is pushing for peace and order and is after men behind gun for hire and drug pushing.

Earlier this week, armed men also torched two dump trucks reportedly owned by Mayor Levi Edma of San Fernando town.  On December 1, armed men later identified to be NPA killed three persons and hurt a boy in Sitio Abel, Miarayon, Talakag town.

In 2007, the NPA was also believed to be behind the attack of the Dangcagan police station when a police officer was also slain. Police reported the perpetrators carted seven firearms and ammunitions.

In 2011, the PNP suspended  then Bukidnon police director Senior Supt. Cristito Rey Gonzalodo and Malitbog police chief Inspector Alexander Eugenio for their failure to thwart the attack on the town’s [police] station by suspected NPA rebels. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)