2 angles eyed in Ifugao backhoe bombing

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TINOC, Ifugao May 08 – Probers are now zeroing in on two possible angles behind the bombing beyond use of a P3.5 million backhoe of a local public works contractor involved in the implementation of several multi-million infrastructure projects along the Banaue-Hungduan-Buguias-Benguet national road late Sunday evening.

Senior Superintendent John Colinio, officer-in-charge of the Ifugao provincial police office, said police and military investigators pooled their available resources and are now deployed in the area where the incident happened, particularly at barangay Wangwang here in order to gather all available pieced and evidence and testimonies of possible witnesses before coming out with a definite conclusion on the motive behind the bombing beyond use of the contractor’s unit of heavy equipment.

However, reliable sources informed Herald Express that the possible motives of the bombing incident could be either related to the contractor’s refusal to pay the revolutionary taxes being demanded from his company by members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) operating in the area and the failure of the contractor to pay a number of road-right-of-way claims by some individuals because of alleged beyond the capacity of the project implementor among others.

The sources added that some of the local residents whose properties would be partially taken to achieve the road-right-of-way of the national road project had been demanding that the contractor pay them an amount which they pegged in exchange for the portion of their properties that will be taken as part of the road but the contractor, Corsa Builders, refused to give in to their demand because it was reportedly excessive and not in accordance with prevailing fair market value in the area.

After the contractor’s refusal to give in to the demand of some of the affected residents, the contractor, his staff and workers continuously received text messages from unknown individuals threatening that something will happen to them if they refuse to pay the affected road-right-of-way claimants of the monetary compensation that they had been demanding.

Colinio said there is still a need to validate the aforesaid allegations in order for the authorities to come out with the appropriate findings and conclusions on the real motive behind the bombing beyond use of the contractor’s backhoe.

It can be recalled that still undetermined number of armed men reportedly swopped down from the mountains of barangay Wangwang late Sunday night, put in place four dynamite sticks on strategic portions of the parked backhoe, lighted the same and exploded it rendering the unit of heavy equipment beyond use.

The police official disclosed the deployed police and military in the area would help in securing the safety of the workers of project contractors who are being required by the public works department to fastrack the completion of their projects in order to improve inter-municipality, inter-provincial and inter-regional connectivity.

The Banaue-Hungduan-Buguias, Benguet national road is one of the flagship projects of the Aquino administration in order to comply with its commitment to have all national roads concreted, upgraded and rehabilitated once President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino steps down from power by the end of June 2016, ending his 6-year term as the country’s Chief Executive who had banked on the platform of transparent and accountable governance.

By Dexter A. See

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