Davao pineapple plantation burned by NPA
The military lambasted the New People’s Army (NPA) on Tuesday for attacking a pineapple plantation in Bukidnon, even as it accused the Maoist guerrillas of violating an international human rights agreement.
Some 30 armed men suspected to be members of the NPA razed to the ground the compound of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corp. (Davao) in Barangay Merangeran in Quezon town on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 8), reports reaching the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) said.
The insurgents also burned the vehicles parked inside the Davao compound and took away the company’s firearms.
Torched were a boom spray tractor, a boom harvester, two nurse trucks and a generator set.
In a statement admitting the raid, the NPA said its South Central Bukidnon Sub-regional Command carried out the burning of the properties.
Ka Malem Mabini, of the NPA-North Central Mindanao Region, said their fighters confiscated at least 15 high-powered firearms from the company’s security personnel.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, 4ID spokesperson, said the rebels violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), one of the four substantive agenda that was formulated following the peace talks between the government and the Communist rebels in the past years.
“The incident is another violation of CARHRIHL when the NPA deliberately and dastardly attacked civilians and their properties. This is their (NPA) way of compelling companies and other small business entities to give in to their extortion demands,” Martinez said.
He said the attack’s immediate impact would be loss of jobs for the locals.
He said the military is supporting the police pursue the perpetrators.
Col. Eric Vinoya, commanding officer of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, said “it is very unfortunate that despite being a signatory to the CARHRIHL, the NPA, with the guidance of their leaders, still continue to attack innocent civilians.”
“We strongly condemn the NPA’s act of banditry and their insincerity by attacking, yet again, a civilian facility and murdering a public official that poses an even bigger threat to the civilian populace and to the economic situation of Bukidnon,” Vinoya said, referring to the killing of Romeo Bantilan Jr., village councilor of Barangay White Kulaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, last Oct. 8.
Bantilan was allegedly gunned down by a member of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 53 only known as “Aman.”
He added: “Those attacks only fuel our utmost desire to protect our people from these thugs. And in so doing, we need the full cooperation of the public in ensuring that these NPA atrocities will be pre-empted.” (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)