..MISAMIS Oriental Vice Governor Norris Babiera expressed apprehension over the burning of six heavy equipment last Sunday in Kagumahan, Kinuguitan town in the province.
Babiera said he is worried that Del Monte Philippines Inc. (DMPI), which will supposedly give development and more jobs to the people, would no longer put up its business in the area.
“We see that as a lost opportunity for the people to be given jobs and the community to be developed,” he said.
But Babiera, at the same time, accepted the reality of the ongoing conflict between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA).
He said the casualties of these conflicts will always be the people.
Last Sunday, six backhoes owned and operated by Golden Horn Service Provider based in Tagum, Davao del Norte and rented by DMPI were burned by alleged members of the NPA around 7 p.m.
Initial report from the military showed that the perpetrators were NPA rebels belonging to the Iking Balacuit command operating in the province.
This was confirmed by NPA spokesperson Ka Oris in an interview with dxIF Bombo Radyo on Tuesday.
“We are against the continued expansion of the company and all other big companies because if this would continue, the farmers would be left with no land to till,” Ka Oris said.
Based on the latest information gathered by Sun.Star, the six heavy equipment cost around P12.6 million.
Babiera said the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) convened on Tuesday for an emergency meeting along with DMPI officials, the Philippine Army and the local government of Kinuguitan to discuss the incident and address whatever concerns there are in relation to the issue.
Earlier, reports said that the burning has something to do with the revolutionary taxes that the company failed to give to the NPA.
Reports also said the burning might also be related to extortion.
Babiera hopes that the peace talk will resume between the government and the MILF to prevent similar incidents in the future.