CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Cagayan Journal / 18 April) Police Monday linked the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) to last week's burning of a Bagong Lipunan bus in Misamis Oriental.
The National Police's Regional Traffic Management Group said its officers have gathered documents that indicate that Bayan collaborated with the New People's Army (NPA) in the Holy Week offensive.
Bayan has been actively participating in anti-Arroyo protests in urban areas. Although left-leaning, the group is not known to openly involve itself in armed offensive operations.
Supt. Felixberto Castillo, TMG chief for northern Mindanao, said the suspected guerillas who pulled off the Salay attack distributed propaganda materials to passengers before they burned the bus.
The documents include the communist publication 'Ang Bayan' and an official statement released by the militant organization, allegedly bore the name "Bagong Alyansang Makabayan."
Castillo said copies of the propaganda materials were provided by passengers.
"We believe some members of the militant group were part of the burning of the bus that was perpetrated by local communist terrorists," said Castillo.
He said investigators have continued looking into the alleged participation of Bayan in the Salay bus burning and were building a strong case against the militant group.
The TMG has beefed up the security in Eastern Misamis Oriental and a number of towns in Bukidnon. Castillo said TMG has deployed its officers to keep an eye on highways to thwart off a possible repeat of the bus burnings in Misamis Oriental.
Police said rebels flagged down the bus driven by Dnnis Panisan on Wednesday morning, ordered passengers to step down and then torched the vehicle after briefly holding dozens of passengers' hostage in Salay, Misamis Oriental.
The ill-fated bus bore license plates KVJ-516 and body number 373.
They said the suspects boarded the bus near riverside 2 and at gunpoint, commandered the vehicle.
None of the passengers were hurt.
Police said the rebels carried out the attack, the second in Misamis Oriental in a month's time, after the bus company refused to pay "revolutionary taxes."