ZAMBOANGA CITY – Communist insurgents staged a daring attack on President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown in Davao City where they destroyed trucks owned by fruit companies.
Rubi del Mundo, a spokesman for the New People’s Army (NPA), said the weekend assault was a punitive action against the Japanese Sumitomo Fruits Corporation and Ayala-owned Highland Banana Corporation. Rebel forces torched three trucks and pushed them off a cliff in Calinan district.
“Workers and peasants in corporate plantations around Southern Mindanao are rejoicing Saturday’s punitive action,” he said, adding, the attack is part of its revolutionary movement’s policy to penalize big bourgeois comprador companies, which continue to exist with impunity by inflicting unimpeded environmental destruction and exploitation of peasants and workers.
Del Mundo branded the two companies as notorious and accused the Sumitomo Fruits Corporation and Highland Banana Corporation of exploiting workers’ welfare by dishing out barely liveable wages, subjecting them to inhuman working conditions, union busting and other repressive labor practices, particularly in their farms in Davao City where Duterte’s daughter, Sara, is also the mayor.
“Both companies push plantation workers to work almost 12 hours, sometimes 16 hours daily under different schemes meant to extract super-profit. Packing plant workers are also made to work the same length of hours without sufficient safety implements. SUMIFRU and Highland, likewise, continue to utilize toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their boom truck sprayers. Workers report that they are routinely exposed to the harmful chemicals being sprayed by boom trucks,” he said.
Del Mundo said peasant families who initially expected to be alleviated from poverty by entering into agri-business venture agreements with SUMIFRU and Highland were faring no better under highly-exploitative arrangements that eventually cost them their lands. “With no control over production, they fall prey to the companies’ exclusive and manipulative management schemes that have buried them deep into indebtedness and have resulted in the seizure of their lands,” he said.
There was no immediate statement or reaction from neither the mayor nor the two companies on the accusations against them by the rebel group, which has been fighting for decades for a separate state in the country. AL JACINTO