Surigao traders worried over recent NPA burning incident

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/14 March) – Businessmen here expressed “concern and apprehension” on the latest burning incident allegedly perpetrated by members of the New People’s Army on a sand and gravel crushing plant last week.

Reports gathered by the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said that more than 100 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels stormed the crushing plant of City Basic Homes in Sitio Aton in Barangay Ipil early morning last March 8 and burned heavy equipment after the owner, Felix T. Chua, failed to pay revolutionary tax.

Supt. Jonathan G. Trogello, city police chief, said this morning that investigation is 80 percent complete as they are now zeroing in on the NPA as the primary suspect in the burning after talking to witnesses.

“There is a strong probability that it was an NPA attacked because of what we gathered from the witnesses, and because there no other groups around here with that much number of armed men,” he said.

SCCI president Willy A. Gan said they have not issued a statement immediately after the incident because they wanted to get the real facts first.

“We understand investigation is still underway and the police is still looking into different angles as to the real motive of the burning so we can’t just immediately condemn any perpetrators,” Gan said in an interview.

But he said that as far as the initial feedback from local traders here, businessmen are apprehensive and concerned, especially since this will affect the image of the peace and order situation of the city and the province.

“What the chamber wants is to develop the province so residents could get well paying jobs,” Gan said. “We also want to encourage investments, but with the sporadic events like this one, we can expect some of [the investors] to now instead go into a wait-and-see attitude,” he added.

Police said they will file cases against the suspects within the week as they are also getting more details from the owner of the crushing plant. (Vanessa L. Almeda / MindaNews)