CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A piece of machinery owned by a multinational corporation was torched by suspected members of the NPA in a village in Bukidnon early Friday morning, November 3, the Army said.
The Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade said in a statement the group burned a portable banana processor owned by Dole Philippines, Inc. in Sitio Sta. Cruz, Barangay Casisang, Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.
The military said the equipment cost about P700,000 and it was believed that the burning could be due to extortion.
The NPA however was yet to issue a statement owning up responsibility to the burning.
But, in a statement on Thursday, November 2 the NPA slammed the deployment of additional government forces which they said aims to defend the interest of the companies “who were drooling to plunder the lands” in Bukidnon province.
Ka Malem Mabini, spokesperson of the NPA-Northcentral Mindanao Region, said the presence of the 88th Infantry Battalion will cause militarization.
The Army in a statement recently said it has organized the 88th Infantry Battalion stationed in Barangay South Poblacion, Maramag town, Bukidnon, under the 4th Infantry Division.
Composed of 450 soldiers, the new battalion was created last month to augment the government forces as it continues to fight the insurgency in the region.
But the Communist rebels said the augmentation of government troops observed that “militarization had already intensified against the people and the revolutionary forces of the said area.”
“In a time or two, we could anticipate the aggravating militarization, violation of people’s rights of the peasants and of the right to self-determination of the Lumad [tribal people],” Mabini said in a statement.
Aside from the mono-crop plantations being cultivated and managed by the huge corporations, the NPA said the tribal lands are also in danger due to infrastructure projects which will be built in Bukidnon.
Among these projects is the construction of the Pulangui Dam-V and the Maramag-Don Carlos airport that will invite more foreign investments to the province.
The planned dam, the NPA said, will affect more than 800,000 people from the lumad and Moro communities in Bukidnon, Maguindanao, and Cotabato living in about 22 villages, especially those living within the Liguasan Marsh.
If these projects are to push through, Mabini said resistance from the NPA and other groups is expected in the future.(davaotoday.com)