Davao City, Philippines—Five members of a survey team of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources were kidnapped by members of the New People’s Army in Compostela Valley Province at around 2 p.m. on Friday, May 30.
The victims belong to a private company contracted by DENR for the National Greening Program in the mountainous town of Maco. They were identified as Kendrik Wong, Nico Lasaca, Chris Favila, Jonas Loredo, and Tim Sabina. Initial reports released to the media included Matthew Cua as one of the victims. Cua, the manager of the company providing ground and aerial surveys, is confirmed safe and was nowhere near the incident site. Military and police units are already on pursuit operations in the town that is under the 1001st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
Although Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Captain Alberto Caber said no group has claimed responsibility yet, the villages or barangays around New Leyte are known to be populated by NPA who also attacked both large-scale and small-scale mining entities who are not giving in to their extortion demands. No other criminal group can exist in this part of Maco without the consent or involvement of the Leftist leaders and armed bandits like the New People’s Army.