BUTUAN CITY: The Agusan del Norte police are looking into reports of an attack on a rubber plantation in the municipality of Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR) on Sunday.
Reports reaching the regional headquarters here on Monday said that at 5:20 a.m. on Sunday, the RTR Municipal Police Station received a text message through its mobile phone hotline from a certain Robert S. Lipke, a farmer from Barangay Tulosa, Cabadbaran City about armed men attacking his rubber plantation in the vicinity of Apugan, Sitio Kaunlaran, Barangay San Antonio.
The report said the group of attackers comprised about 30 men with assorted high powered firearms burned about 12,000 fully grown rubber trees and a storage house including three tons of rubber cap lump and other personal belongings.
RTR police already coordinated with their military counterparts in the area to verify the report.
It is also now conducting a deeper probe to establish the motive of the incident and to locate and identify the culprits and file the appropriate criminal charges in court against them.
Meanwhile, the Tubay Municipal Police Station is conducting further investigation to identify the suspects in the burning of an aircraft over the weekend.
Also, all units of the Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office were alerted and directed to intensify the conduct of strong check point.
Reports reaching the police regional headquarters said that a plane used for pesticide control at the Del Monte banana plantation was parked at the hangar airstrip owned by Alberto M. Soriano, located at Purok 4, Barangay Dona Rosario, Tubay, Agusan del Norte, was burned by unidentified heavily armed men wearing black sweat shirts with Philippine National Police (PNP) markings and logo and black fatigue pants.
The report said that the information was received by PO2 Rodel Monteza of Tubay Municipal Police Station at around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tubay Police led by Police Officer 3 Herbert S. Estoque, immediately responded in the area after informing the Bureau of Fire Protection of Cabadbaran City.
Investigation showed that at around 5:30 p.m., security guards Jacinto Gales, 58, of Purok 3, Barangay Dona Rosario and employed by Fireball Agency, and Jay-R Loreto, 27, of Purok 4, Barangay Sta. Ana saw about 50 heavily armed men with long and short firearms wearing police uniforms.
Three of the armed men pointed a gun at them and grabbed their issued shotgun. After the guards were disarmed, they were tied with straw thread (nylon twines).
Another security guard, Danilo Nakila, 50, of Purok 2 arrived and was also tied up.
He testified that some of the armed men took a video of the incident. He said the others took cartons and sacks and stacked these with the machine of the plane and set it on fire.
After burning the plane, the armed men fled to an unknown direction. Nobody was reportedly injured during the incident.
Investigators have yet to determine the amount of damage to the plane owned by the Philippine Agricultural Aviation Corp.