Top officials of the Philippine Army in Caraga Region scored the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for its attempt to burn the equipment of a construction company engaged in an irrigation project for the farmers of Agusan del Norte.
Government forces under the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion foiled Tuesday’s attempt of NPA rebels to raze the construction equipment in Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga town, after several residents reported the rebels’ presence to authorities, said Lt. Col. Isagani Criste, 29IB commander.
“Our soldiers conducted an intelligence-driven security operation in response to reliable and timely information provided by the local residents in Baleguian,” Criste said in statement Thursday.
Criste said extortion was the main motive of the NPA, adding the five rebels were members of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda 16A (SYP 16A) of the Guerrilla Front 16.
Two of the perpetrators were also identified based on the information from the several civilians in the area, Criste said, naming them as Marvin Bugas of Santiago town, Agusan del Norte; and Eliamar Elecito Monter of Jabonga town.
After the three-minute clash, Criste said they recovered a container filled with gasoline a few meters away from the site where workers and equipment of Reyrose Construction are located.
The 29IB said Reyrose Construction is working on an irrigation project that will benefit the members of the Beleguian Farmers and Irrigators Association (BOFIA) in the area.
Criste said BOFIA members were once influenced by the NPA but decided to cut their ties with the rebel movement “and denounced the continuing terroristic activities of the rebels.”
“The provision of reliable information manifests the commitment of the farmers in Baleguian and the neighboring barangays to secure the ongoing development project that will help them achieve increase agricultural production and brighter future for their families,” the Army official added.
Col. George Banzon, commander of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, underscored the important role of residents in protecting the development programs and projects of the government.
“We will have an effective course of action in preventing this threat group from doing atrocity if the community will cooperate and will not hide information. What transpired in the recent incident is a classic manifestation that we can make difference if we will actively participate in the peace efforts in our respective communities” Banzon said.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Source: Philippines News Agency