CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The hunt for New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who raided the security headquarters of the Del Monte pineapple plantation in Bukidnon is ongoing, the military said on Thursday.
Two security guards were killed while company’s chemical warehouse was burned when the NPA attacked the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation in Sitio Kiantig, San Jose Quezon on Tuesday.
The fatalities were identified as Rey Balon and Reynald Pangkat, who were also burned by the rebels.
Army Maj. Christian Uy, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the NPA rebels also seized 17 firearms, VHF radios, live ammunition, and burned the security bunker and plant machinery that include a tractor and four motorcycles.
He said that the attack in San Jose took place apparently to retaliate for the killing of 13 NPA rebels in an armed skirmish with the followers of a tribal chieftain in the town of Prosperidad in Agusan Del Sur on Tuesday.
Uy said the security guards allowed the NPA rebels to enter the Del Monte compound on board a ten-wheeler truck and a forward truck.
“The security guards did not notice that the armed communist rebels were on the bed of the truck since the truck beds were fully covered. The security guards thought that the trucks were delivering chemicals,” Uy said.
He said that one of the security guards was able to fire warning shots to alert other security guards of the presence of the rebels inside the company compound which resulted in a brief firefight.
In a statement released to the media here, the NPA claimed responsibility for the attack of the Del Monte security headquarters in retaliation to alleged land grabbing, harassment of legitimate land claimants and non-payment of just wages and benefits to workers of the Del Monte company.
The chemicals employed by Del Monte on the pineapple plantation also poisoned the Luwan-Luwan Spring, the only source of potable and fresh water in the area, the statement said.
The statement signed by a certain Allan Juanito of the NPA’s South-Central Bukidnon Sub-Regional Command, also extended condolences to the families of the victims, saying that the rebels had no intention to harm the security guards but were compelled when the victims resisted during the attack.
He said that more punitive attacks would be carried out against the multi-national companies operating in Bukidnon such as the Del Monte, Dole and Sumifru unless the companies cease the aggressive and destructive expansion in the province.