Suspected NPA rebels torch South Cotabato packing plant

Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2016 12:26 AM

SOUTH COTABATO - A packing plant owned by DOLE Stanfilco Banana Plantation in Sitio Sibuyon, Barangay Canahay in Surallah, South Cotabato, was set on fire by armed men who identified themselves as members of the New People's Army (NPA) early Monday night.

Cardboard and plastic used for packing bananas, tables, and a portion of the ceiling of the plant were burned.

According to investigation, eight men riding in three motorcycles arrived at the plant and pointed their guns at the security guard.

After introducing themselves as members of the NPA, they poured diesel on a stack of cardboard and plastic and set it on fire.

“Matigas daw ang kumpanya, so 'yun lang ang sinabi bago nila sindihan yung mga karton at yung mga plastic,” said police Chief Insp. Joel Fuerte, the chief of Surallah Police Station.

(They said the company won't give in to their demands, before they set fire to the place.)

No one was reportedly hurt in the incident, but the total damage was estimated at around P10,000.

The police said they cannot say for certain whether the NPA is behind the attack.

“Hindi lang natin masigurado kung sila pa rin ang grupo or baka yung may mga labor problem iyung company,” said police Senior Supt. Franklin Alvero, the provincial director of South Cotabato Police.

(We are not sure if they are the same group of the company might have labor problems.)

The incident took place in a far-flung area, police said.

According to Alvero, since last month, more than 10 heavy equipment and four buses were burned by assailants claiming to be NPA rebels.

Police have placed marshals in buses to ensure the security of passengers and vehicles.