ZAMBOANGA CITY: New People’s Army (NPA) rebels staged a series of attacks at the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City and blew up a factory before escaping in daring dawn raids that injured a security guard and a fish vendor.
Heavily-armed rebels arrived in several vehicles and disguised as government soldiers and members of the National Bureau of Investigation, they immediately disarmed the security guards of the factory.
The Provincial Police Office in Davao del Norte said about 100 heavily-armed NPA rebels on board two 10 wheeler-trucks attacked the Macondray Plastics Inc. (MPI) plant in Barangay Tagpore, Panabo City and burned it at around 3:30 a.m.
MPI, formerly Agro Plastics, Inc., supplies the requirements of the banana companies under the Lapanday Group.
The rebels then torched the Lapanday box and plastic plants along Tigatto road in Buhangin. Security guard Reynaldo Talamaque was injured after he was shot when he resisted the armed men.
Buhangin Police Station commander Senior Insp. Milgrace Driz said that at around 5:30 a.m., an improvised explosive device exploded along Mandug road in Purok 8, Tigatto injuring fish vendor Larry Timbal Buenafe in the head.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the attack was part of the NPA’s extortion activities. He said Lapanday management had been receiving extortion letters from the communist group.
The NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Operational command spokesperson, Rigoberto Sanchez, said the three simultaneous tactical offensives against the Lorenzo-owned companies and ranch started at around 2 a.m. on Saturday.
“The PBB’s (Pulang Bagani Command) coordinated offensives served as punitive action against the Lorenzos for their numerous crimes against agricultural workers, peasants and lumad,” Sanchez said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Davao Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio, the President’s daughter, strongly condemned the raids saying, “The attacks perpetrated by the New People’s Army today in Davao City are acts of terrorism. I take what happened today as a personal insult especially because the local government of Davao City has been supportive of the peace negotiations between the national government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.A nd because I have repeatedly offered to talk peace with the members of the NPA within Davao City,” she said.
“We condemn these acts committed by a group that pretends to champion social justice and equality. With its history of carrying out atrocities and its continued penchant for lawlessness and bloodbath, the NPA is an organization that is not worthy of our trust and respect,” she added.