Suspected New People’s Army rebels burned and destroyed Sunday night heavy equipment of a private construction firm in Sitio Taoangan, Brgy. Gil Montilla, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.
Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday said the armed suspects, estimated at 30, some of them wearing bonnets, burned a payloader, grader and a vibratory roller, using a gasoline and other combustible materials. They, however, spared from harm the watchman, Lirazan said.
The destroyed heavy equipment owned by the IBC (International Builders Corporation), were used in the construction and rehabilitation of the national road in Sipalay City, Lirazan said.
The extent of damage on the heavy equipment is still being determined by the Bureau of Fire and Protection. But Lirazan said the heavy equipment would cost P25 million if purchased brand new.
IBC, an Iloilo-based construction firm, is owned by a certain Alfonso Tan, he added.
Lirazan said the armed suspects, however, spared the heavy equipment of the Sipalay City government.
Shortly before the incident, he said, Sipalay policemen who had passed the area, were also spared from harm by the NPA.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the NPA should stop the destruction of properties, and that the incident could have been triggered by failure to pay revolutionary taxes by the owners.
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division condemned the NPA anew for destroying heavy equipment used in the development of the countryside.
Lt. Col. Pompeyo Jason Almagro, 47th Infantry Battalion commander, said the atrocity is another extortion try of the NPA to force the private firm to give in to their demands.
In previous months, about 30 armed men, who introduced themselves as NPA members, also burned a dump truck and a backhoe owned by the HLJ construction firm in Sitio Buta, Brgy. Caliling, Cauayan.
The extent of damage was placed at P1.7 million.
Col. Allan Martin, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who supervises the 47IB, said the government is working hard on developmental projects that will benefit the people and, in return, the NPA destroys the equipment to stall development.
Early this year, suspected rebels used improvised explosive devices to destroy the sugarcane transloading station of Lopez Sugar Corp in Escalante City, police records also show.