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NPA rebels attack pineapple plantation in Bukidnon

LANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines (UPDATED) – Around 70 New People’s Army (NPA) fighters attacked the facilities of the Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco) in Barangay Merangeran, Quezon town, Bukidnon on Sunday, October 8. 

This was confirmed by Captain Norman Tagros, spokesperson of the army's 403rd Infantry Brigade.

"The attackers were able to enter the compound and burn one boom spray tractor, one boom harvester, two nurse trucks, and one generator sets while stealing three shotguns, and one caliber 9mm pistol from the security guards," Tagros said on Tuesday, October 10. 

In an email on Monday, October 9, Ka Malem Mabini, spokesperson of the NPA-North Central Mindanao Region, said the NPA rebels from the South Central Bukidnon Subregional command attacked Del Monte Philippines Incorporated, and confiscated 15 high-powered firearms from the security force.

However, the NPA clarified on Tuesday that what it attacked was Davco, not Del Monte, and that they confiscated 22 firearms. 

Davco produces and exports pineapples fruits, employing Bukidnon residents. 

The Philippine Army condemned the attack.

Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the attack was a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), a document signed by both the Philippine government and the CPP.

"The incident is another violation of CARHRIHL when the NPA deliberately and dastardly attacked civilians and their properties," Martinez said.

Martinez added that the attack was the NPA's way of compelling companies and other small business entities to give in to their extortion demands.

"The immediate impact on this is the possible loss of job of the locals whose source of income only depends on the said company," Martinez added.

"Support to law enforcement operation is in effect, and we are currently gaining information from the concerned civilians as we pursue the perpetrators," Martinez said. – Rappler.com

*In an earlier version of this story, we reported, based on the NPA claim, that the facility attacked was that of Del Monte Philippines Incorporated. It has been corrected to reflect the target, the Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation, based on a clarification made by the NPA and the Army.