TUPI, South Cotabato (DWDD) – Government troops are pursuing a band of some 20 armed men believed to be CPP-NPA terrorists (CNT) who partially burned a banana packing plant of Dole-Stanfilco at Barangay, Kalkam, Tupi, South Cotabato on April 12 l 2018.
The 27th Infantry “Action”Battalion under the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry “Agila” Division based along the Gensan-Marbel Road in Brgy. Kablon, Tupi and the Tupi Municipal Police Station, PNP immediately responded to the arson attack together with the Tupi Municipal Fire Station of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Tupi Rescue Team. The speedy response saved the production bodega from damage but not an estimated P500,000 worth of properties that were destroyed by the blaze.
Fortunately, however, no one was injured in the incident. While withdrawing about 9:45pm, the armed men, who are likely members of Platoon Roxas Range, Guerrilla Front 73, Far South Mindanao Operational Command, CPP-NPA, also disarmed a Barangay Tanod member of his service shotgun and handheld radio transceiver unit while rendering duty at the Barangay Tanod outpost in Sitio Sabuy, Barangay Lunen, some two kilometers from the beleguered packing plant.
According to witnesses, six of the armed men equipped with R4, Garand and M14 rifles, a shotgun and Caliber .45 pistols entered the packing plant about 7pm and introduced themselves as CPP-NPA members. The other armed men reportedly deployed themselves outside the compound. At gunpoint, the six armed men warned the guard-on-duty and six other workers present not to react against them as they only intend to burn the facility. Speaking in Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) dialect with heavy Blaan accent, the CNTs reportedly told them that they were imposing punitive action against Dole-Stanfilco due to its expansion activities that may drive them away and permanently displace. With three gallons of gasoline they brought with them, the CPP-NPA terrorists set on fire the packing plant and agri-bodega. The CNT band withdrew from the area around 7:40pm. The latest burning incident is believed to be the 80th arson attack nationwide, the 70th in Mindanao and the 64th in eastern Mindanao that were either claimed by or blamed against the NPA since President Duterte assumed office at noon on June 30, 2018. Similarly, it was presumed to be the 8th arson case nationwide this year that was attributed to the CNT. 27IB / MCAG