Extortion eyed in truck burning-A A +A
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Extortion is likely the motive behind the burning of a truck owned by a banana firm in Makilala, North Cotabato, a top military official said.
First Lieutenant Nasrullah Sema, chief of the civil military operations of the Army's 57th Infantry Brigade (57th IB), said Dole-Stanfilco, one of the major firms engaged in Cavendish banana production, has been receiving extortion threats from the New People’s Army (NPA).
The rebels, Sema said, are asking a "considerable amount" from the banana company, but did not state how much.
"The rebels call this a revolutionary tax. But, for us in the government, there's no such thing as revolutionary tax. This is clear and simple extortion," Sema said.
"There are letters from the NPA asking for an amount for their operations. They ask money from the developers and other business establishments here," Sema added.
Dole-Stanfilco is one of the major firms operating in Makilala town. Other industries include rubber plantations, woodworks, and agri-industrial products.
The firm, including other agri-based industries, contributes to the growth of Makilala town, said Sema.
"If we allow the rebels to extort from developers, what will happen to this town?" he asked.
Reports reaching the 57th IB said that at least 10 fully-armed NPAs arrived at Sitio Kalapungot, Barangay Kisante in Makilala town where the boom spray truck of Dole-Stanfilco is located, around 2:35 a.m., Tuesday.
The rebels immediately torched the truck after they poured gasoline on it, reports added.
The truck, said Sema, could no longer be operational.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2012.