Alleged NPA rebels attack banana plantation in Magpet

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/19 October) — An attack allegedly staged by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels today against a Japanese-owned banana plantation in North Cotabato damaged an estimated P8 million worth of company property, a local official said.

Magpet town Mayor Efren F. Piñol said extortion was the possible motive for the attack that occurred around 7:30 a.m. in sitio Tumondong in Barangay Basak.

No one was hurt in the attack but the rebels burned a boom truck of Sumifru Philippines Corp. that cost some P8 million, he said.

Sumifru’s banana plantation is located 10 to 15 kilometers from the town proper, Piñol said.

The mayor asked the military to intensify security measures in the mountains of the town to avert future rebel attacks.

Sumifru Philippines employs security guards but their firearms were no match against the high-powered guns of the NPA rebels, Piñol said.

He recalled that the communist guerrillas first attacked Sumifru early last year.

Sumifru, a joint venture with giant Sumitomo Corp, is engaged in the production of export- quality Cavendish banana and has plantations in different parts of Mindanao reportedly covering at least 4,000 hectares.

Company officials could not be reached for comment regarding the latest attack on its facility.

But Piñol blasted the NPA rebels, claiming that they have become more aggressive nowadays, even allegedly asking revolutionary taxes from teachers and not just from banana companies in the area.

The NPA rebels have so far not issued any statement regarding the attack against Sumifru. (MindaNews)