NPA rebels attack solar farm in Cadiz City
BACOLOD CITY – Suspected communist rebels fired at and damaged at least 90 solar panels of the biggest solar farm in Southeast Asia located in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental about 10:20 p.m. on Thursday.
Cadiz City Mayor Patrick Escalante said the guerrillas damaged at least P2.250-million worth of panels.
The rebels, who were armed with hand grenades and high powered weapons, fired from outside of the perimeter fence, said Escalante.
No one was hurt, he added.
The close to P10-billion Helios Solar Energy Corp. solar farm in Barangay Tinampa-an, Cadiz City, was developed through a partnership between Gregorio Araneta Inc. and Soleq, one of Southeast Asia’s largest solar independent power producers, whose mother company is Equis.
The 132.5-megawatt solar generation facility with 427,392 solar panels sitting on a 176-hectare property was inaugurated last March.
NPA rebels were suspected to have perpetuated the attack as part of their extortion activities, the mayor said.
They reportedly tried to extort money from the firm, he said.
A police report said an unidentified group of 17 armed men speaking Hiligaynon and Cebuano was seen headed for the solar farm by witnesses.
The report said about 109 pieces of live ammunition were fired by rebels from different high powered weapons, including M-16 rifles, M79/M203 grenade launchers. Police recovered two firing pins of hand grenades at the scene.
Damaged in the attack were 90 solar panels and one CCTV camera, the report said.
The mayor said the Army and police were meeting Friday afternoon to beef up security in the province.
He added that action needs to be taken to assure the security of investors.
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