Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

In barely 2 hours, Reds attack three cellphone sites

(AFP) - Communist rebels have attacked three mobile phone transmission towers in the Philippines in barely two hours, the military said Tuesday.

About 10 New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas used firebombs to attack the transmission tower of Digitel communications in Pandi village, Bulacan province, just outside Manila late Monday and caused some damage, the military said in a statement.

Just 20 minutes later another group forcibly entered the Globe Telecom cell site compound in the northern province of Nueva Ecija. They hurled petrol bombs and fired on the control cabin.

The suspects fled in a van while police prevented the fire from spreading.

Another 20 minutes later, NPA rebels hurled three petrol bombs at another Globe Cellphone site at Hagonoy town in Bulacan but security guards extinguished the blaze.

Regional military chief Major General Romeo Tolentino said the attacks were probably due to NPA demands for extortion or "revolutionary tax."

He directed his units to help police hunt the attackers.

The 8,000-strong NPA is the guerrilla arm of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines. It has attacked 23 Globe Telecom cellular towers in recent months, blasting them or burning them down.


Digitel cell site bombed

MALOLOS CITY -- A band of still unidentified armed men bombed the cell site and tower of the Digitel Telephone Company in Bgy. Poblacion, Pandi town, late Monday night.

No one was reported hurt in the incident but flames razed cables in the compound, according to reports reaching Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Benedict Michael Fokno.

Police said at around 11:25 Monday night, a group of at least 10 armed men stormed the site, firing high-powered firearms before lobbing homemade Molotov bombs at the communication facilities of Digitel.

The Digitel cell site is located at the middle of a rice field and is some 300 meters away from the municipal hall and the police station. It is also located near the compound and cell site of another telephone company which was not attacked by the suspects.

P02 Ferdinand Cabuhat of the Pandi Police Station said the bombers used ladders in climbing up the cyclone wire fence of the communication facilities and then fired their guns before lobbing bombs that destroyed several communications equipment.

Aside from the volley of gunfire, police and the residents in the area also heard a loud explosion before flames engulfed the site.

Among those believed to be damage was the cell site provider equipment for Digitel's Sun Cellular subscribers, police investigators said. However, police said some of the equipment including those inside a steel box appears to be intact. They said the rest of the tower is also still intact.

"The police can not generally rule on the extent of the damage brought by the attack because it is only the Digitel firm which has the authority and the capability to do so," Sr. Supt. Fokno told members of the Bulacan Capitol Press Corps.

Police said the suspects fled on foot.

Police recovered pieces of broken glass believed to have come from the Molotov bombs, two pieces of improvised wooden ladder and bamboo poles, seven empty shells for M-14 rifle and 15 pieces for M-16 rifle. Police also recovered three pieces of live ammunition for M-14 rifle.

Fokno said they are still determining if the incident was a handy work of suspected communist New People's Army (NPA) or other possible armed men trying to threatened the said telephone firm.

Last year, a cellular site tower in Calumpit town some 20 kilometers north of this town was attacked and destroyed by suspected communist rebels.
Emil G. Gamos & Erick Silverio Journal.com.ph


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