NPA owns up to Bukidnon raid

Posted at 01/23/2014 11:39 PM | Updated as of 01/23/2014 11:39 PM

BUKIDNON -- The New People's Army (NPA) has owned up to a raid at a Sumifru warehouse in Valencia City last Friday, after the Philippine Army said the communist group had nothing to do with it.

Earlier, Lt. Col. Raymund Landingin, commander of the Army's 18th Infantry Battalion operating in Bukidnon,
cleared the insurgents from the attack at Sumifru, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation.

"There were no reported sightings of NPA rebels along that area recently, that is why we are looking into the possibility that these perpetrators are from a lawless armed group," Landingin said.

According to Landingin, the suspects swooped down at the warehouse, disarmed the security of their firearms and personal belongings, and burned P2 million worth of backhoes, water tank, and packing machines.

The military said a "lawless armed group" had been trying to extort from Sumifru.

It said the group even asked that they be included in the company's payroll for protection.

'We did it'

In owning up to the attack, NPA's Mt. Kitanglad Sub-Regional Command spokesman Mamerto Bagani said the attack was "punitive action" in response to Sumifru's "anti-people activities."

Bagani claimed that the "anti-people activities" of Sumifru include "land grabbing, anti-labor and the environmentally destructive operations of their pineapple and banana plantations."

Bagani said the expansion of the operations of Sumifru has covered vast tracts of land in the province, displacing peasants and lumads from their lands.

"Many of them are enslaved by the foreign company as wage laborers," he said.

He said Sumifru workers have also been complaining of "wage slavery and inhumane working conditions."

"In 2010, workers were forced to strike against irregular payment of their wages. They only earn a daily wage of P289 despite the millions raked by Sumifru in superprofits," said Bagani.

Workers wages, Bagani said, are inadequate.

He said all workers of Sumifru are working contractual.

Bagani claimed that Sumifru is also wreaking havoc on environment.

He said the attack serves as a warning to businesses.