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MANILA, Philippines – Plantation owner Del Monte Philippines said it has reinforced security measures at its pineapple and canning operations in Bukidnon in central Mindanao following a rebel attack on February 19 early evening.
In a media statement on Wednesday, February 20, the local unit of food giant Del Monte said that it has tapped the help of government civilian and security forces to “reinforce security measures to ensure the safety of its workers and the surrounding community.”
“Company operations were not affected by the incident. Its key assets at the plantation and cannery have been safely secured,” it added.
It also said it is unaware of the reasons for the communist rebels’ attack at 6 p.m. on February 19 that killed a security personnel onsite.
It said 100 heavily armed NPA rebels attacked the plantation office and truck yard in Camp Phillips after trying to rob a Caltex gas station along Damilag road.
The rebels also burned 3 heavy equipment units and a personnel bus.
“The rebels attempted to torch field equipment parked at Del Monte’s nearby plantation office. Though unsuccessful, the attackers fatally shot one guard and wounded two security personnel,” it said.
“Fortunately, Del Monte employees who were trapped in their offices escaped unharmed,” it added.
Police responded swiftly, resulting in an exchange of gunfire, Del Monte said.
The company said the encounter lasted 30 minutes, with the rebels escaping through the road to Dahilayan, with the police and military in pursuit.
“It is unfortunate that this is incident happened and we are unaware of the reasons why the rebels committed such acts of violence.”
The company employs 20,000 people across 10 municipalities, conducts many life-improving projects in the province, and has been operating for the last 87 years. – Rappler.com