From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): NPA owns attacks in Surigao
Communist guerillas claimed responsibility over the series of attacks launched all in one day on Tuesday, July 18, in reaction to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s intention to extend Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of this year.
Ka Ariel Montero, spokesperson for the New People's Army Regional Operational Command, said in a statement Wednesday the offensives included the disarming of Vice Mayor Emmanuel Suarez of Cortes town in Surigao del Sur.
In that attack, rebels carted away two caliber 45 pistol, a shot gun, a sub machine gun, two grenades, a VHF radio and four boxes of bullets for .45 pistol initiated by NPA Front 30 in his home at around 6 a.m.
At noon on the same day, the NPA Front 19 attacked the Dole-Stanfilco banana plantation in nearby Tago town where they destroyed some six hectares of banana hills and torched the company’s six elf mini-trucks.
In Surigao City at around 9 a.m., the NPA Front 16 torched the equipment and vehicles of Mamsar Construction including a forklift, backhoe and multi-cab cars.
In Butuan City later in the evening, the NPA-Front 21 killed militiaman Oning Lumacang, a resident of Anticala village for his alleged involvement in anti-insurgency offensives. Montero said Lumacang was a former NPA cadre who left without consent and brought firearms.
Montero said the “punitive action” against Dole-Stanfilco was for their “continued grabbing” of farmlands of poor farmers and the use of chemicals for aerial spray that supposedly causes damage to the environment and the health of the populace.
He added they also burned down the company equipment and vehicles for the company’s failure to recognize and follow the revolutionary policies like benefits of its workers.
The statement said the series of offensives were “necessary to protect the interest of the masses and the revolutionary movement from the ferocity of Martial Law of President Duterte and the all-out military offensive under Oplan Kapayapaan.”
Reacting to the attacks, the Provincial Police Office in Surigao del Sur condemned the NPA attacks which it said “have only sown terror and fear to innocent civilians.”
“Is this what they boast of being the soldiers of the masses? To rob properties and instill fear to the civilians? And when their demands are not met, they just burned down properties hardly earned by residents?” reads a statement issued by the Police Provincial Office in Tandag City.
The police has called on residents to reach them on their hotline numbers if they have any information about the presence of communists guerrillas in their communities.