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AFP slams equipment-burning terrorists

Kathleen Mae B. Bulquerin

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) over what it describes as terroristic attacks on peaceful and non-combatant subjects that refused to kowtow to their extortion demands.

Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of AFP- Central Command, issued the statement after the NPA-Mt. Cansermon Command claimed responsibility for burning various heavy equipment owned by Pilipinas Eco-Friendly Mining Corp (PEMC) worth P120 million in Negros Oriental on New Year’s Day.

“This is another terrorist and desperate attack perpetrated by the NPA. They again targeted a legitimate company which is one of the sources of livelihood of the people in that area,” Clement said.

The attack is a clear and undeniable proof of their total disregard of humanity and of the provisions set-forth in CARHRIHL, the only document duly signed by both the GRP and NDFP,” he added.

In May last year, same rebel group claimed responsibility for burning heavy equipment owned by a private construction company in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental.

In a statement, Ka Dionesio Magbuelas, spokesman for the Mt. Cansermon Command, claimed mining operations of PEMC, which have been supplying silica to cement factories in Cebu for 15 years, had destroyed the environment in Ayungon.

He added its mining operations destroyed about 2,000 hectares of farm areas and rice fields.

The mining site is about 17 kilometers away from the town proper of Ayungon.

But Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said he believes the attack was due to management’s failure to give in to extortion demands of communist rebels.

Combined elements of the police and government forces are conducting hot pursuit operations against 50 suspects who were responsible for the attack.

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