Rebels torch heavy equipment in North Cotabato

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KIDAPAWAN CITY: Suspected New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels set fire anew heavy equipment owned by a building construction company, in a shortcut road linking the agricultural province of North Cotabato to Davao city, the military said.

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Spokesman of the Army’s 70th Infantry Battalion Lt. Nasrullah Sema said 10 suspected combatants of Front 53 of the NPA burned on Sunday a bulldozer and two Elf trucks around 2 p.m. at Barangay Ladayon in Arakan town.

Refusal of the construction company’s management to pay “revolutionary tax” to the NPA prompted the attack by the group, Sema said.

The construction company is building a road linking Arakan town to Davao City via the Buda highway of Davao City’s Kalinan district, alongside a water impounding project and irrigation facilities, Sema said.

The incident followed the torching of at least six heavy equipment by NPA guerillas the other week, three of which owned by another private construction company in Matalam town also in North Cotabato— the same fees were demanded from the company, Sema said.

The Army advised construction companies to coordinate with concerned authorities before undertaking operations in the province to avoid harassment by lawless elements.

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