NPA rebels torch hauling trucks in N. Cotabato


KIDAPAWAN CITY — Suspected New Peoples’ Army rebels torched on Wednesday dawn three prime mover and three hauler trucks of a banana firm in Matalam, North Cotabato, authorities said.

Three of the trucks were owned by GY Company, a hauling firm for Sumifru banana plantation in Matalam, while the three hauler trucks, locally known as “Iraqi trucks,” belonged to the banana company.

Captain Antonio Bulao, spokesman of the military’s 602nd Infantry Brigade based in Carmen, North Cotabato, said the NPA attacks occurred at about 2:15 a.m. at the firm’s hub facility compound in Barangay (villlage) Bangbang.

The Matalam police said about 20 heavily-armed NPA rebels stormed the compound, disarmed its security guards and poured gasoline on the six parked heavy equipment then set them on fire.

The gunmen then fled with four shotguns they had seized from the company’s four security guards and several communication equipment.

Bulao said prior to the attack, the banana firm has been receiving extortion demands from the NPA’s Front 72 operating in North Cotabato.

Other multinational firms operating in the province had also been subjected to mulcting activities by the NPAs, including Dole-Stanfilco, he said.

First Lieutenant Nasturallh Sema, speaking for the 57th Infantry Battalion, said companies that have ignored the NPA’s extortion demand had also been subjected to harassment in the past.

He did not cite an example though.

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