Holy Week attacks stall P1.3-B road projects in Davao City

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Operations of a P1.3-billion bypass road project here were hampered after alleged New People’s Army (NPA) fighters burned 10 heavy equipment vehicles during the Holy Week, authorities said Monday, April 2.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio condemned the torching incident, which the police first confirmed over the weekend.

"The construction of roads in Barangay Callawa in Buhangin, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan are now temporarily stalled because of the attacks,” said Carpio.

The NPA has not issued a statement owning the attacks, but authorities, including Eastern Mindanao Command’s chief Lieutenant General Benjamin Madrigal Jr, suspect the group is behind the incident.

Burned were bulldozers and backhoes, with a combined damage worth P65 million, said Senior Police Inspector Maria Theresita Gaspan, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office.

The construction vehicles were parked in different areas: Barangay Callawa in Buhangin District, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato District, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan District.

Gaspan said the torching began in Buhangin and Paquibato on Saturday, March 31, then continued in Calinan on April 1.

Dean Ortiz, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Davao spokersperson, also confirmed that the operations of a bypass road project in Paquibato and Buhangin were affected by the incident. 

“We’re opening a road in that area,” he said over a DXAB interview.

DPWH Davao is constructing a Buhangin-Tigatto-Mandug-Callawa-Fatima road in the city as part of the 10 bypass road projects being implemented here to ease heavy traffic.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza denounced the incident, saying “this unnecessarily squanders whatever gains we have been quietly getting lately in our common efforts with the CPP/NPA/NDF leadership to achieve just peace through the negotiations table.”

He added, “As we have been emphasizing, the presence of an enabling environment will be the sole determining factor for the resumption of peace talks.”

President Rodrigo Duterte had cancelled peace talks with the Left, and went on to tag its organizations as terrorists. – Rappler.com