BUTUAN CITY—A security guard was killed and another wounded in an attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on a construction company encampment in the town of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur province late on Thursday (June 24).
The Caraga region office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a report that the attack took place 9 p.m. at the bunkhouse of a construction firm called MR1 at the village of Zone 2 in Lanuza.
Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat, of the regional police, said Edlrin Daraman, a security guard, was killed while another, Melvin Buniel, was wounded.
Caramat said two backhoes were torched by the rebels who were believed to be members of the Guerrilla Front 30 of NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Caramat said authorities believed the rebels attacked when the company refused extortion demands.
“Let us condemn these dastardly acts of the NPA who masquerade as protectors of human rights but terrorize the business sector as well as the local folks,” said Caramat.
“The attack now hampers the construction of farm-to-market roads which supposedly benefit the people especially those residing in far-flung areas,” he said.
The PNP report said policemen from the Lanuza police station and 2nd Surigao del Sur Mobile Force Company responded to calls for help during the rebel attack and clashed with the NPA unit for 30 minutes.
In a statement, NPA said rebels burned the tractor, backhoe and water pump of MR1 Construction Company owned by Paulo Lopez, the brother of Cantilan Mayor Carla Pichay.
“We attacked that area because we received reports that the security personnel were fully armed with high-powered firearms,” said NPA.
“Why do they have such high-powered guns when most other construction companies don’t have one? Is it because they are Cafgus? Or because the owner of the equipment is related to a politician and they can get away with it?” said Sadra Sidlakan, spokesperson of the NPA in Surigao del Sur.
Sidlakan also claimed that the raid had nothing to do with extortion as claimed by police.
“Our initial plan was just to disarm them (security guards) because they have high-powered guns,” said the NPA spokesperson.
Among the guns in possession of the company guards were Armalites, shotguns and .45 caliber pistols, said Sidlakan.
“Unfortunately, the security guards fought back, so our comrades had no choice but to engage them,” the rebel spokesperson said.
Sidlakan added that the raid had nothing to do with politics even if the owner of the construction equipment was linked to Lopez who planned to run for mayor of Madrid town in 2022 in a lineup that planned to contest the Pimentel clan.
Police from the provincial PNP office and soldiers from the 36th Infantry Battalion were still on pursuit operations for the rebels.
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