Duterte: NPA burns P12 M-worth heavy equipment in Davao

Mar. 23, 2013

“My grapevine sources (tell me that it’s the NPA) and they did not deny it,” Duterte told journalists during a command conference with police and military officials Friday night at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claimed the New People’s Army (NPA) was responsible for the recent “surprise attack” in the city center, burning a construction company’s three heavy equipment worth an estimated total of over PHP 12 Million.

“My grapevine sources (tell me that it’s the NPA) and they did not deny it,” Duterte told journalists during a command conference with police and military officials Friday night at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.

“There must be an extreme reason to do that because they do not do it here and this would be the first time that it happened — for the longest time,” he added.

Davao City Police Office Director Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, in a text to davaotoday.com, said that two simultaneous incidents happened at 7:45 PM on Thursday.

Two backhoes worth PHP 6 Million each were burned along Km. 14, Diversion Road in Panacan.  Four unidentified persons who wore helmet onboard two XRM motorcycles, he said, used diesel fuel to burn the heavy equipment.

Leonardo Ondaloc, caretaker of the said equipment, said that while resting inside one of the backhoes, four persons awakened him and identified themselves as NPA members.  After burning the equipment, Ondaloc said, the four immediately left the area.

Recovered from the scene, Bato said, were one empty plastic gallon container and bamboo burning stick.

In a separate incident, two persons onboard a Unident motorcycle burned one TCM 850 payloader at the equipment yard beside Buhangin Gallera in Km. 6 Diversion Road, Buhangin.  The men reportedly used crude oil.

However, the payloader was just partially damaged after the caretaker, Marcelo Mabayao, called the Buhangin Fire Station which immediately responded to extinguish the fire that lasted for 10 minutes.

Mabayao told authorities that he was just taking his dinner 50 meters from the equipment yard when he noticed that the equipment was already on fire.  The damage was estimated at PHP 50,000.

Police recovered three empty plastic gallon containers and one bamboo torch from the scene.

The three heavy equipments are owned by one Allan Zamora of the Jameetrex Construction.

While still at a loss on the reasons of the communist guerillas for launching the attacks, Duterte noted that the incident “might or might not happen again.”

But regardless of the NPA’s reasons, he said, he will ask them to spare the city.

“Maybe I would ask the NPA, and if they really did it for a reason whether taxation or otherwise, wag nalang muna dito (don’t do it here, for now).  Total, maraming makinarya diyan sa labas sila nalang unahin niyo (After all, there are lots of equipment outside, get them first),” he said in jest.

The vice mayor also understand the NPA’s form of taxation regardless where a construction firm is operating.  “Revolutionary tax is everywhere.  That is the reality on the ground,” he said.

But despite the attacks here, Duterte said his “channel” with the NPAs will not be severed.  “It’s a window, it’s not as big as other windows because I am with government but it’s a very small window where I can put my message across to them,” Duterte said.

He further explained that what happened is part of the “revolution” that the NPAs are waging.  “If you kill a battalion it is still rebellion.  It has a lesser penalty because rebellion is motivated by a higher interest – principles,” he explained.

Duterte also said that the NPAs are not like thieves “because they want changes in society.”  He also noted that he’s still supporting the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“I would still encourage the NPA and the communist party to continue the talks with government,” Duterte said.  (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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