DAVAO CITY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The New People’s Army (NPA) said Monday, October 9, that it was behind a raid on a security agency assigned to Del Monte Philippines’ plantation in Quezon, Bukidnon.
Ka Malem Mabini, NPA spokesperson, said their South Central Bukidnon Sub Regional Command was behind the incident, adding that they also “seized not less than 15 high-powered firearms.”
The incident took place in the afternoon of October 8, and was confirmed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Bukidnon command.
Police Senior Investigator Jesse Longakit, the command’s spokesperson, said armed men clad in military uniform and civilian clothes disarmed the guards at a warehouse of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DAVCO) at around 4:30 pm on that day.
DAVCO is Del Monte’s contracted grower, according to the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
She added that during the incident, the armed torched the warehouse, along with its farm equipment and machines.
Longakit said they are still awaiting progress report from the Quezon Municipal Police Station to determine the cost of the damage to the property.
Army claims NPA violates CARHRIHL
Meanwhile, the military said Tuesday, October 10, that the incident was a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL).
“This is their way of compelling companies and other small business entities to give in to their extortion demands,” Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
Martinez said the immediate impact on this is the possible loss of jobs among locals whose source of income only depends on the said plantation.
“It is very unfortunate that despite being a signatory to the CARHRIHL, the NPA, with the guidance of their leaders, still continue to attack and murder innocent civilians,” said Col. Eric Vinoya, commanding officer of the military’s 403rd Infantry Brigade.
CARHRIHL is one of the four substantive agenda that was formed following the peace talks between the government and the communist rebels in the past years. (davaotoday.com)