Alleged NPA members burned more construction equipment in Davao
DAVAO CITY – Barely a day after Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza warned communist rebels that their acts of burning construction equipment here were not helping in efforts to restore the stalled negotiations, another burning incident took place in Southern Mindanao on Tuesday.
According to a report from the Southern Mindanao police office, suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) set on fire a backhoe and a dump truck in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte around 11:30 a.m., although circumstances surrounding the incident was still sketchy.
Police said the pieces of heavy equipment were owned by construction firm UBI.
On Monday, Dureza criticized the NPA for the series of similar burning of heavy equipment in at least two villages here on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday. Police said up to P65 million worth of heavy equipment were burned in those attacks.
“We condemn in the strongest way the senseless destruction of heavy equipment in Davao City over the last few days by suspected armed elements of the New People’s Army,” Dureza said in a statement.
He said the attacks “all the more angers us” because it happened during the Lent.
Dureza also said the attacks did not help in efforts to restore the stalled peace negotiations and even “unnecessarily squander(ed) whatever gains we have been quietly getting lately in our common efforts with the CPP/NPA/NDF leadership to achieve just peace through the negotiations table.”
“As we have been emphasizing, the presence of an enabling environment will be the sole determining factor for the resumption of peace talks. We are therefore saddened by the consequent setback these attacks bring to our efforts,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the attacks only showed that the “NPA is nothing but a terrorist group” as she also labeled these acts as “cowardly.”
“(The attacks) indicate that the NPA is nothing but a terrorist group that deserves our collective rejection and condemnation,” Sara said in a media statement.
She further said the NPA had “undermine(d) our democracy and development through its brand of egregious violence and extremism.” She noted that the burned heavy equipment were being used to build roads in Barangay Callawa in Buhangin, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan to “end the condition of chronic poverty in the said areas.”
“The road projects could make the delivery of other basic services to the people faster — including health, education, agricultural development and livelihood,” Duterte-Carpio said.
Moreover, the mayor said the attacks also exposed the NPA’s real intention, which was “for people to continue living in a condition of poverty, which they could use as a capital in their propaganda against the government and to justify their presence in the communities where their influence and significance are waning.”
“Let me reiterate my previous appeal to the people of Davao and to our partners in the peace and development movement — let us support our soldiers and police and let us openly condemn NPA as a terrorist group,” Duterte-Carpio said. /kga
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