May 212013
KIDAPAWAN CITY — The New Peoples’ Army released unharmed on Tuesday in Makilala, North Cotabato the six drivers of rented cars the rebels commandeered and used to raid a security agency in Tagum City, Davao Oriental.

Senior Inspector Joyce Birrey, chief of Makilala Police, identified the freed drivers as:

  1. Armando Woamil of Davao City, driver of beige Mercedez Benz (LXB 686);
  2. Orbil Bacaro of Ma-a, Davao City and driver of red Montero Sports (LGC 129);
  3. Reynaldo Pedere of Talomo, Davao City, driver of silver Toyota Grandia (LGY 732);
  4. Hashim Moalid of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, driver of green Hi-Ace Toyota van;
  5. Schmidt Apat of Matina, Davao City, driver of black Hyundai Starex (KCP 166); and
  6. Danilo Tamayo of General Santos City, driver of gold Toyota Innova (ZCX 871).

The drivers told Birrey they were held for one day in a nipa hut in Purok Nangka, Barangay New Bulatucan, about two kilometers away from the national highway.

A total of 20 fully-armed NPA rebels were detailed to watch them, the drivers said.

Pedere, driver of Toyota Grandia van, said the rebels did not hurt them and provided them with food and water.

Also Pedere said that before they were abducted, a woman who introduced herself as a wife of a foreigner contacted him through the internet and hired him to fetch the foreigner who had stayed for a vacation in Barangay New Israel in Makilala town and bring him to the Davao International Airport.

The other drivers said they were also hired through online booking and were told to fetch a family, also in Barangay New Israel, for a reunion somewhere in Davao Oriental.

Pedere and the rest of the drivers left their places of origin, around 7 a.m., on Monday.

But when they reached Barangay New Bulatucan, around two kilometers away from the Makilala-Bansalan highway, a group of armed men blocked their way and ordered them to disembark from their vehicles, Pedere said.

The drivers said they were told to board habal-habal motorcycles that brought them to a shanty in New Bulatucan, where they were held from 9 a.m. on Monday until 6 a.m. the next day.   

Also they said the same habal-habal motorcycles were used to take them to a lodging house in Barangay Kisante, also in Makilala, where they were freed.

The NPA, in a statement, admitted it was responsible for the abduction of the drivers.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman for the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, also claimed responsibility for the raid of Dasia Security Agency in Tagum City.

Sanchez said the raid was led by the 6th Pulang Bagani Company of the ComVal-Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Command.

Meanwhile, Birrey said the Toyota Innova is still missing. Malu Cadelina Manar /LBG, GMA News 

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