NPA rebels torch Cotabato rubber processing plant

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Aftermath of rebel attack on a rubber processing plant in North Cotabato’s Makilala town.

Aftermath of rebel attack on a rubber processing plant in North Cotabato’s Makilala town.

MAOIST rebels burned to ashes a rubber plantation processing plant, destroying millions of pesos worth of equipment and rubber products by farmers.

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Lt. Nasrullah Sema, civilian-military operations officer, Army 57th Infantry Battalion, on Monday said that the insurgents also detonated an improvised explosive device that left one civilian dead and another injured.

Two nearby civilian houses, Sema added, were also gutted by fire.

He identified the casualty as Hector Lalaguna, 46, and the injured as Francisco Manliquez, 47, both employees of the rubber plant.

Sema said that Lalaguna and Maliquez were with several other employees who rushed to the plant to stop the fire from spreading but their vehicle hit a landmine planted by the rebels along their way.

Burned was the Standard Rubber Development Corp. located in Barangay Talunan, Makilala, North Cotabato.

The group of 30 insurgents, according to Sema, was led by a certain Felix Armodia alias Jing.

“We are looking into two motives, one is extortion then one is the issue of some legal groups and the NPA regarding the lowering of prices of [fuels],” Sema said.

“WE have mobilized our troops and we have inserted troops to conduct blocking every possible exit and also coordinated with other battalions near the area where they can exit,” Sema added.

William B. Depasupil

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