Pineapple firm upset over NPA attack-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
CAGAYAN DE ORO -- The management of Del Monte Philippines said Wednesday it is unaware of the reasons why members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked its plantation office and truck yard in Camp Phillips, Bukidnon Tuesday evening.
“It is unfortunate that this incident happened and we are unaware of the reasons why the rebels committed such acts of violence,” the company said in a statement.
It said Del Monte has been operating in Bukidnon for the last 87 years and has provided gainful employment to over 20,000 people across 10 municipalities.
“Del Monte has undertaken numerous socio-civic projects that continue to improve the lives of many families in the province,” the company said.
Northern Mindanao Police Regional Director Catalino Bagaslao Rodriguez Jr., said in an interview over Magnum Radio Wednesday morning that government forces are now providing security to Del Monte.
Rodriguez said the situation is now stable and under control but authorities are still conducting hot pursuit operations and investigation on the incident.
He said they already have cartographic sketches of the perpetrators based on the account of the witnesses.
“I am asking the citizens to cooperate with the police and military para hindi na maulit ang ganitong pangyayari dahil malaki ang effect nito sa economy at tourism natin,” he said.
Rodriguez said personnel from the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) are also providing security for Del Monte’s packing office in Barangay Bugo.
“But we are monitoring any security threat not only in Bugo but other vital installations,” he said.
Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command, confirmed that the rebels belonging to the Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Command launched a coordinated and simultaneous attack on Del Monte and Dole-Stanfilco on Tuesday at around 6 p.m.
Juanito said the rebels simultaneously attacked the motor pool and administration building and damaged the company’s equipment inside its main camp in Camp Phillips and its satellite camp in Besavilla, Sumilao town.
He said the rebels also seized the firearms of the security guards of Dole-Stanfilco-La Fortuna Plantation in La Fortuna, Impasug-ong town.
Juanito said based on initial report from the field operations command, at least nine heavy equipment were damaged.
He said the rebels also stormed two warehouses and office of Del Monte’s satellite camp in Besavilla and seized 15 assorted firearms and computer sets.
“Pagpakita kini sa kaseryuso sa rebolusyonaryong kalihukan sa pagsilot sa mga higanteng kumpanya sa ilang tulubagon sa pagpahimulos ug pagdaugdaug sa mga mamumuo, mag-uuma ug lumad, ug pagguba sa kinaiyahan. Human sa sagunson nga paghapak sa mga bangis nga bagyo nga nagdulot og dili tiaw nga kadaut ngadto sa katawhan, subli-subli nga nautingkay ang tulubagon sa magun-obon sa kinaiyahan nga operasyon sa logging, mga kumpanyang agribisnes ug mina. Panahon na kini sa paghatag og hustisya sa mga nabiktima sa katalagman,” Juanito said in the statement.
A security guard belonging to Kadre Security Agency died and two others were wounded during the attack.
A civilian was also wounded. The wounded are now being treated at the Capitol University Medical City in Cagayan de Oro.
According to Del Monte, the attack began with an attempt by the rebels to rob a Caltex gas station along Damilag road.
It said the rebels burned three heavy equipment units and a personnel bus parked inside the Del Monte truck yard and attempted to torch field equipment parked at Del Monte’s nearby plantation office.
Reports also said NPA rebels allegedly blocked Atugan Bridge in Impasug-ong town using a bus owned by Rural Transit of Mindanao Inc. and held military and police authorities who were supposed to provide reinforcement.
Spikes were also reportedly scattered in the national highway, affecting some passing vehicles.
Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Mindanao, earlier said the main target of the coordinated attack was the equipment and main office of Del Monte Philippines.
“This is to send a message and to demand for Del Monte to stop their operation tungod kay sila ang major cause sa kadaut nga nahiagoman sa katawhan gikan kang Sendong. Ang main cause sa delubyo sa Sendong mao ang logging ug gidugangan sa pineapple plantation. Ang mga loggers wala na diha, apan ang padayon nga nagpabilin mao ang dako nga kumpanya sama sa Del Monte ug Dole. What the NPAs did is to give justice to all victims of Sendong,” Ka Oris said.
He did not confirm the number of NPAs but said “enough to launch a simultaneous attack in both the plantation of Del Monte and Dole.”
Ka Oris said the attack would not be the first as the revolutionary movement is planning to launch more attacks to Del Monte and Dole in the future if they still won’t stop their operation.
He said they were saddened about the reported death of a security guard.
“Gikasubo kaayo namo. Dili man unta angay mamatay ang walay labot. Pero kaning Cadre mga abusado, mga bangis nga mga security guard,” he said.
Ka Oris also asked for understanding for those who were stranded in the national highway.
“Among ihangyo nga unta masabtan ninyo nga kabahin kini sa operation aron mababagan dayon ang military reinforcement. Wala kini gihimo aron madisturbo mo kung dili kabahin kini sa operasyon,” he said.
Ka Oris claimed that burning the equipment of Del Monte is the only practical way to stop the operations of the company even just for a few days.
He denied that the movement is demanding for revolutionary taxes from Del Monte.
“Wala namo gikinahanglan ilang kwarta. Ang among hangyo lang nga mo-evacuate sila,” he said.
Juaniaton added: “Sa makausa pa, ipadangat namo ang mensahe ngadto sa mga kumpanya sa pag-undang na sa ilang mga makadaut sa kinaiyahan nga mga operasyon, pagpangilog sa yuta gikan sa mga nagtikad ug mapahimuslanon ug madaugdaugon nga mga binuhatan. Sa hinanali, undangon nila ang padayong pagpalapad sa ilang mga plantasyon. Alang sa mga kontraktor, subli namo silang pahimangnoan sa pagtuon sa kaseguruhan sa ilang negosyo sa dili pa mosulod sa pakigkontrata sa mga multinasyunal nga agribisnes sama sa Del Monte ug Dole.” (Terry Betonio of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)