SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/02 September) – Suspected New People’s Army rebels figured in two attacks over the weekend in Surigao del Norte and North Cotabato.
The Police Regional Office in Caraga said six armed men believed to be rebels burned mining equipment owned by Silangan Mindanao Mining Company Inc. 8:40 a.m. last Saturday in Barangay Febra in Mainit town, Surigao del Norte.
Police said the attackers burned one VIP5000 transmitter (induced polarization survey equipment), one Honda KVA generator set, nine electric rods, four spools and a tent. Total damaged was pegged at P1,143,00.00.
The alleged rebels also took the shotguns of security guards Nilo Macula and Danilo Dag-uman of Marilag Security Agency.
Lt. Col. Vincent Iringan, commander of the 30th Infantry Battalion has not issued any statement pending an investigation. He said his troops are pursuing the attackers.
Arrestio Tinglao, corporate communications manager of Silangan Mindanao Mining told MindaNews they will release a statement soon.
Silangan is a subsidiary of Philex Mining and is expected to start operations by 2017.
In October 2011, communist rebels launched simultaneous attacks on three mining companies in Claver, Surigao del Norte. They burned over a hundred heavy equipment and some buildings and sank several boats owned by the mining firms.
At around 8 p.m. Sunday some 30 NPA rebels torched the processing plant, office and warehouse of a rubber company in Barangay Talun-talunan in Makilala, North Cotabato.
The attack led to the death of an employee of the Standard Rubber Development Corp. (Standeco) and the wounding of another when a roadside bomb went off, according to Lt. Nasrullah Sema, chief of the civil military operations of the 57th Infantry Battalion.
Sema said the rebels were onboard two Isuzu trucks when they raided Standeco.
Few hours later, a roadside bomb allegedly planted by the rebels went off and killed Hector Lalaguna and injured Francisco Andap, both employees of Standeco who were on their way to the site for an inspection.
Sema said the victims were onboard a Standeco pickup truck when the bomb went off.
Lalaguna who was seated at the back died on the spot, while the driver, Andap, was seriously injured.
Sema said the rebels might have mistaken the company truck for a military vehicle responding to the attack.
“The rebels also saw the headlights. When they saw a vehicle was approaching, they immediately blew off the landmine,” he said, adding extortion could be the motive behind the arson.
He also considered the controversies behind the decline in the prices of rubber as among the motives.
The rebels earlier issued a statement accusing some businessmen and companies as behind the alleged cartel or monopoly of the rubber industry in North Cotabato.
Sema condemned the attack saying it was the handiwork of a “group of bandit”’.
“With what the NPAs had done, they did not think of the future of the people in Makilala and the dreams of the children of Standeco workers. There is a big possibility that the rubber industry in Makilala will die with what happened,” he said.
Police and military personnel have launched pursuit operations against the attackers believed to be members of the NPA Front 72 led by a certain Felix Armodia a.k.a. Commander Jing.
Sema said the rebels fled towards Tulunan town via Barangay Santa Filomena, Makilala onboard the Isuzu trucks. (Roel N. Catoto and Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)