Armed men torch farm equipment in Bukidnon
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Armed men alleged to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) torched farm equipment in two separate incidents in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, at early dawn Saturday, January 30.
Reports reaching the military said that two units of bulldozers were burned down by unidentified armed men at Impalambong, Barangay 10, at around 2 am.
The bulldozers were reportedly owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc (DMPI).
Around half an hour later, a boom spray truck of Lapanday Diversified Products Corporation (LDPC) was also torched by 5 unidentified suspects at Sitio Hagwaon in Barangay Laguitas.
"While no lives were in danger during the incident, LDPC's farm equipment were damaged which badly affected its operations that put in grave peril the livelihood of its employees working in its plantation in the area," the company said in a statement Sunday, January 31.
Both agricultural companies are operating pineapple plantations in Malaybalay, added the reports.
The police, military, and the Bureau of Fire Protection are now investigating these arson incidents.
The reports noted that the Lorenzo family owns Lapanday and a part of DMPI, the majority shares of which had been sold to the Campos Group many years ago.
While managing DMPI, the Lorenzos were known to have resisted extortion activities by the NPA, the reports added.
In a third incident also in Malaybalay City, a mega truck, while conducting a spraying operation at a Dole farm in Upper Gabunan in Barangay Casisang, was flagged down then strafed by suspected NPA rebels also at around 2:30 am.
Five bullets hit the truck, said the report. The driver of the truck was able to get off the truck and run to safety. – Rappler.com
Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story, the second company was identified as Lapanday Agricultural Development Corporation. The name of the company has been corrected.