UPDATED 14 Oct
ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 11 Oct) – The New People’s Army burned several heavy equipment and confiscated 21 high powered firearms from an agricultural company in central Mindanao last Sunday.
Capt. Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said around 70 rebels attacked the compound of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DAVCO), producer and exporter of fresh pineapple fruits, in Barangay Merangeran, Quezon, Bukidnon at around 4:15 p.m. last October 8.
The NPA described DAVCO as a multinational firm. The Davao City-based company is a member of the Davao City chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII), where it is listed as a producer and exporter of fresh pineapple fruits. DAVCO is a contract grower for Del Monte Fresh Produce (Philippines), Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Del Monte Fresh Produce B v ( Netherlands), according to the DMFPPI profile in the DCCCII.
Martinez said the rebels burned two boom sprayer trucks, three dump trucks, a generating set and several firearms inside the compound.
Responding Army and police units arrested a suspected rebel identified as a certain Angelica Regasajo, an alleged NPA medic, during the follow-up operations.
The NPA North Central Mindanao unit took responsibility of the attack.
In a statement emailed to reporters, NPA spokesman Ka Malem Mabini said their forces seized a total of 22 firearms that include 12 M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, a sniper rifle, four shotguns, three caliber .45 pistols, a 9mm pistol, ammunition and communications equipment.
Mabini said aside from the heavy equipment, they also burned a warehouse full of toxic chemicals that were potentially harmful to residents.
He said the attack at the compound took only 40 minutes and all the NPA attackers were able to safely withdraw and elude Army pursuers.
He said they targeted the firm to remind them not to aggressively expand their operations in Quezon town, a farming community that mainly produced staple food like rice and corn.
“The revolutionary forces also aimed for environmental protection since [DAVCO] operates near a populated area. Land inundation and health hazards due to poisonous chemicals used by the said company are always imminent,” Mabini said.
The Army condemned the attack, saying it violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law or CARHRIL signed by the government and National Democratic Front on March 16, 1998. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)