DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 24, 2010) – Communist rebels torched construction equipment used in government irrigation projects in an attack in the southern Filipino province of Agusan del Sur, officials said.
Officials blamed the New People’s Army for the attack which occurred late Tuesday in the village of Angas in Santa Josefa town.
“It is another case of arson perpetrated by the communist rebel group New People’s Army to extort money from uncooperative construction companies in the area. More than three million pesos worth of construction equipment used in the irrigation project undertaken by the National Irrigation Administration was destroyed.”
“This happened even if the project was meant to alleviate the plight of the farmers in the area who are reeling from the effects of the El Nino phenomenon,” said Colonel Daniel Lucero, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations of the Philippine Army.
Quoting military reports, Lucero said the attackers were led by an NPA leader identified only as Ka Jamal, of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee. He said the rebels briefly held Rene Amoy, who works for the MarkBuilt Construction Company, and torched the equipment before fleeing to the hills.
“In some areas where the NPA still operates, it is expected that renewed extortion activities will be imposed against companies unwilling to cooperate in the payment of NPA extortion money,” Lucero said. “Rest assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will do its duty to safeguard the industries and the people who run them in order to operate their businesses.”
He said the NPA have also resorted in collecting monies from politicians in exchange for a safe passage in areas where rebels are actively operating.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which is fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)