Military cites business losses from NPA attacks

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BUSINESS establishments in Eastern Mindanao have lost nearly P250 million pesos in damages this year as a result of the atrocities perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) disclosed on Wednesday.

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Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Eastmincom commander, citing data released by construction companies, business firms and other industries in the region, said the damages –broken down by quarter— are P34.71 million (1st,); P34.58 million (2nd); P92,72 million (3rd) and P84.11 million (4th).

Guerrero said the atrocities have not only hampered development and the delivery of essential services, but have also brought untold sufferings and hardships to the workers whose jobs were affected.

“If the CPP/NPA/NDF is sincere about peace and promoting the people’s interest, then they should immediately desist from attacking development projects and legitimate business, which serve the interest and provide gainful employment to our people”, he added.

The AFP official pointed out that the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) prohibits attacks against civilians, and non-military targets.

In the wake of these atrocities, Guerrero directed the forces under his command to institute measures that would enhance the security of vital industries, projects and businesses in area of operations.

The troops were also directed to coordinate with the local police local government officials and security officers of commercial entities to strengthen security of their respective establishments as deterrent to crime perpetrated by unscrupulous elements.

Guerrero also reiterated his call for businessmen to report any extortion activities purportedly by the NPA even as he anticipates a rise in extortion activities especially with the numerous development projects being implemented in the region and with the approaching election campaign season.

Intelligence reports indicated that the NPA has intensified its extortion activities because it has lost its logistical base in the countryside, according to Guerrero.

“The Eastmincom is therefore appealing to the general public to work closely with security and law enforcement agencies to put a stop to extortion by the NPA,” he said.

FERNAN MARASIGAN

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