Abu Sayyaf attack kills 6 rubber plantation workers
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Six rubber plantation workers were killed while 27 others were wounded when Abu Sayyaf gunmen ambushed a vehicle ferrying them to work in Tumahubong in Sumisip, Basilan, early Thursday.
Taha Katoh, the manager of Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Cooperative (TARBIDC), told the Inquirer by phone that the workers were aboard a truck on the way to their work area near Sapah Bulak when they were ambushed past 6 a.m.
“This is the biggest number of casualties we suffered from the Abu Sayyaf for refusing to give in to their extortion,” said Katoh, adding that it was the third ambush on the cooperative’s workers.
Herculano Dalumbar, the TARBIDC vice chair, identified the slain workers as Bonifacio Estoquia, Larry Mangaran Sr., Albert Parang, Dante Benundo, Loreto Jimenez Jr. and Allan John Pascua.
Pascua was initially wounded and was being rushed to a hospital when he died.
Dalumbar decried the attack, saying the cooperative did not have money to pay the Abu Sayyaf’s demand of P300,000 in initial payment and a monthly protection fee of P100,000.
“This plantation is owned by workers who are striving hard to feed their families,” he said.
Col. Ramon Yogyog, Task Force Basilan commander, said the Abu Sayyaf has been harassing businesses in Basilan. He said Wednesday’s ambush was the latest of the Abu Sayyaf’s atrocities.
On Oct. 22 last year, Yogyog said the Abu Sayyaf killed four rubber plantation workers.
“The Abu Sayyaf has stepped up its attacks now,” Yogyog said.
He said when the bandits attacked the workers yesterday, soldiers were busy helping secure the registration of voters in Basilan, a province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and could not quickly come to the aid of the workers. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.