Officials said about 40 New People’s Army rebels staged the Thursday attacks in the village of Las Arenas in Compostela Valley’s Pantukan town. “They flagged down the trucks and the bulldozers and torched them,” said Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.
He said the drivers were unharmed in the twin attacks led by rebel leader Danilo Nodalo.
The attacks, he said, were triggered by firm’s refusal to pay extortion money to the New People’s Army, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines which is fighting for decades for a separate Maoist state in the country.
“These attacks prove the New People’s Army is a terrorist organization. The New People’s Army attacks civilian and unarmed target. This cowardly act is a crime that can never be justified. It brings more pain and sufferings to the people because it causes fear and anxiety and obstructs our way to economic development,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar urged rebels to surrender peacefully and start a new life. He said more than five dozen rebels had surrendered to the military since October in Mindanao. Most of those who surrendered were provided skills and livelihood training, he said.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he would reopen peace talks with the rebels after negotiation collapsed in 2004 during President Gloria Arroyo’s term.
The rebels accused Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of thousands of political prisoners. (Mindanao Examiner)