Saturday, November 16, 2019

'Reds' burn road construction equipment in Antique

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 16, 2019): 'Reds' burn road construction equipment in Antique

TORCHED. The New People's Army partially burned three heavy equipment in Brgy. Luyang, Sibalom on Friday (Nov. 15, 2019). Antique Provincial Police Office deputy director Norby Escobar urged other contractors to coordinate with the police so they can patrol and secure equipment in project sites. (Photo courtesy of Sibalom MPS)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique -- Suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Friday set fire to three heavy equipment used in a PHP2 million road construction in Barangay Luyang, Sibalom, Antique. 

In an interview Saturday, Antique Provincial Police Office Deputy Director for Operations, Lt. Col. Norby Escobar said
three units of heavy equipment of the F and T Construction were partially burned by around 30 fully-armed men who introduced themselves as NPA rebels.

“Two men prior to the burning of the three units of heavy equipment went inside the bunker of the contractor and introduced themselves as NPAs,” he said.

The foreman and a laborer, who informed the police about the incident, were inside the bunker when the rebels poured gasoline on a road roller, a hydraulic excavator, and a road grader and set the equipment on fire.

“The F and T Construction based on the report of the Sibalom Municipal Police Station is owned by contractor Cecila Falcis,” he said.

Escobar said the heavy equipment units are still serviceable as these were only partially burned as it was raining when the armed men torched them.

He said the Bureau of Fire Protection Antique provincial office is investigating the extent of the damage on the heavy equipment.

“The police is investigating into the possibility that the burning of the heavy equipment could be due to the extortion activity of the NPA when the contractor did not give in,” Escobar said.

Another angle being looked into, Escobar added is that the NPA staged the scenario to ambush responding members of the Sibalom Municipal Police Station but failed.

He also urged other contractors who have infrastructure projects in Antique to coordinate with them if they have received extortion feelers so authorities could patrol their project sites.

Escobar said what the NPA had done is anti-development for it will delay the road construction project in the area.

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