DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 29 April) — Mayor Sara Duterte condemned the “acts of terrorism” perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) early Saturday morning, calling it a “terrorist organization.”
The rebels launched simultaneous attacks in three locations — in Mandug, Bunawan and Calinan — burning two plants manufacturing boxes and plastic. A security guard and vendor were injured.
In a statement issued shortly before 11 a.m. the mayor, who had earlier proposed localized talks with the communist rebels when the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) at the national level were suspended in February-March, said she took what happened at dawn as “a personal insult” especially because the city government has been supportive of the peace negotiations between the national government and the NDF, which represents the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the peace talks.
“We condemn these acts committed by a group that pretends to champion social justice and equality. With its history of carrying out atrocities and its continued penchant for lawlessness and bloodbath, the NPA is an organization that is not worthy of our trust and respect,” the mayor said.
She assured residents that the city’s police and soldiers are on top of the situation and urged them to “support our police and the military by openly condemning the NPA as a terrorist organization.”
According to the Buhangin Police Station, a firefight at the Lapanday Box Plant in Mandug was reported to them at around 3:30 a.m. by the Central 911 Base Command.
The report said security guard Reynaldo Talamaque was injured when an estimated 80 rebels “burned the Lapanday Box Plant and plastic plant buildings.”
Talamaque was hit on his shoulder and stomach and was rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) for medical attention.
A blast from an improvised explosive device was also reported at Purok 8 along Mandug Road in Tigatto at around 5:30 a.m., wounding fish vendor Larry Timbal Buenafe, a resident of Agdao, who was travelling to Tigatto.
Buenafe was also brought to the SPMC for treatment.
The Buhangin police report said the suspects fled towards Sitio Timawa in Barangay Mandug on board a white Toyota Fortuner with plate number ABD 8221 and a blue dump truck with plate number LAN 277.
In a statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command owned up the attacks, saying the three simultaneous tactical offensives launched Saturday were the NPA’s “ punitive action against the Lorenzos for their numerous crimes against agricultural workers, peasants and Lumad.”
Personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection approach a still burning main building of the box plant of Lapanday Foods Corporation in Mandug, Davao City that was attacked and burned by the New People’s Army dawn of 29 April 2017.He said the rebels disarmed security guards, seized several pistols in Barangay Mandug, and burned several equipment in the two box plants or plants manufacturing boxes; attacked the Lorenzo family’s ranch in Barangay Pangyan in Calinan district where they seized three-high powered firearms, and also attacked the Macondray Plastic Plant in Bunawan here, disarming their security guards.
The attacks came shortly before a magnitude 7.2 quake shook the southern part of Mindanao, registering Intensity IV in Davao City and a few hours before President Rodrigo Duterte, longtime mayor of Davao City, was to address the 30th ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Manila. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews, with reports)