MADDELA, Quirino: The Fortunato Camus Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Cagayan Valley has admitted burning five construction equipment owned by two companies in Cagayan and Quirino provinces in Northern Luzon.
A statement released on Tuesday said the burning of the equipment was a “punishment,” for the construction firms’ refusal to abide by the laws of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), an umbrella group counting the NPA as a member.
NPA spokesman Victor Servidores said the two companies failed to pay their “revolutionary taxes.”
Police on Wednesday said suspected NPA members burned down the firms’ five heavy equipment last Sunday.
Chief Insp. Jhun Balisi, police chief here, said four armed men burned one Volvo backhoe owned by Ricardo Diaz Interior being used in an ongoing bridge construction at Ysmael village at about 11:30 a.m.
Balasi added that the suspected rebels told seven construction workers to leave before burning the heavy equipment.
One of the construction workers said the rebels even apologized for burning the equipment, explaining that the construction firm’s owner failed to “pay taxes.”
In the town of Alcala, Cagayan at least four road-building equipment of another construction firm were also set on fire by the suspected rebels at about 8 p.m.
Police said there were at least 15 gunmen who attacked a motor pool owned by Pulsar Construction in Barangay Baybayug and burned a BH22 backhoe, a CP-1 compactor, a mixer and an Isuzu Elf (ADK 138) truck.
The rebels also took away four units of handheld radios, two cellular phones, an audio-video recorder and other communication gadgets.
Lt. Col. Rembert Baylosis of the Philippine Army assigned to the province said Pulsar Construction is building a road connecting Alcala and Baggao towns.
Meanwhile, the military denounced the burning of a public school also allegedly by NPA rebels in the hinterland village of Concepcion in Valencia City, Bukidnon, last Sunday after school officials refused to give in to the rebel’s “extortion” activities.
“The teachers refused to give in to the demands of the NPA rebels, who resorted to terroristic activities,” Lt.
Erwin Bugarin, spokesman for the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, said in a report.
The armed group reportedly burned the faculty room, one classroom and the school library.
Bugarin said it becomes evident “that the NPA exempts no one in their extortion activities, not even the schools which are essential in providing education to the pupils and students living in marginal communities.”