NPA rebels torch another backhoe in Talaingod town

ANOTHER backhoe was torched by alleged seven armed men in Sitio Banualay, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte around 10 a.m. on April 3.

Chief. Insp. Milgrace Driz, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) XI, said around 10:55 a.m. of Tuesday, Florante Ferraren, project engineer of Ulticon Builders Incorporated (UBI), appeared at the police station and reported that their excavator was burned by armed men who introduced themselves as members of the New People’s Army.

Sr. Insp. Rogaciano Gara, the officer-in-charge of the Talaingod Police Station, directed his personnel to verify the report.

They interviewed Leo Bustamante, foreman of the construction site, who said that they were approached by seven men carrying high-powered rifles who reportedly told them, “Don’t be afraid. We asked for a little yet they refused,” one of the armed men said, referring to the company.

The armed men then proceeded to torch one excavator before leaving the area.

The Talaingod police are still conducting further investigation to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the incident.

On Black Saturday, reported NPA members burned 10 heavy equipment in the three hinterland barangays of Davao City.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio condemned the attacks, which she described as “downright cowardly.”

The construction of roads in Barangay Callawa in Buhangin, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan are now temporarily stalled because of the attacks, she said.

“The road projects could make the delivery of other basic services to the people faster — including health, education, agricultural development and livelihood,” the mayor said. “The said projects could change the lives of the people for the better.”

“The fresh atrocities reveal that the terrorist group only truly intends for people to continue living in a condition of poverty, which they could use as a capital in their propaganda against the government and to justify their presence in the communities where their influence and significance are waning,” the mayor said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza also condemned “in the strongest way the senseless destruction of heavy equipment.”

“The fact that the three consecutive attacks happened during the observance of Holy Week all the more angers us,” Dureza said.

“This unnecessarily squanders whatever gains we have been quietly getting lately in our common efforts with the CPP/NPA/NDF leadership to achieve just peace through the negotiations table,” the country top peace negotiator said.

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