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Truck torched | Authorities could not pinpoint group behind Dole attack

Unidentified armed men burned a box-hauler truck of the multinational agriculture company Dole in Barangay Talandang, Tugbok District on Monday evening.

“The suspects are still unidentified,” said Lt. Col. Raymund Dante Lachica, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion that operates the barangay.

Lachica said they could not yet pinpoint the participation of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the attack.

“There is no NPA in Talandang,” Lachica said. “It could just be coincidence that the perpetrators targeted the Dole.”

In a report given by Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Sr. Insp. Maria Teresita Gaspan, four armed men doused gasoline in all the tires of the truck, operated by Stanfilco, before setting it on fire around 7 p.m. Monday in at Sitio Banarao, Talandang.

Stanfilco is a Philippine division of the California-based Dole, said to be the largest fruit producer in the world. In the country, Dole produces bananas and pineapple, among others.

Members of the Tugbok Police Precinct, led by Sr. Insp. Paulino Zaulda, and soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Battalion are now conducting follow-up investigation and operation to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

In 2016, Dole-Stanfilco closed two of its banana operations in Surigao del Sur after NPA repeatedly attacked the company’s equipment. The rebels reportedly torched a total of 19 container trucks since 2010. The Dole sites in Barobo and Tagbina employed 1,500 workers. The attacks were believed to have been carried out by the rebel group after Dole refused to pay revolutionary taxes.

In 2015, NPA rebels stormed the airstrip owned by Dole and blasted a parked light plane in Maragusan, Compostela Valley.

The NPA rebels were tagged in the series of atrocities in the region that targeted heavy equipment of various companies that reportedly refused to pay revolutionary taxes.

Last June 1, a generator set and an electric steel cutter, owned by Adam’s Haven Mountain Resort, were torched by armed men who introduced themselves as NPA members in Barangay Ompao, Tarragona, Davao Oriental.

On April 1, two days after the 49th anniversary of the NPA, the communist guerillas left an estimated P65-million in damage in the simultaneous attacks in the city.

They burned five backhoes, four dump trucks and a bulldozer in two sites — Purok 4, Sitio Suadan and Purok 14, Sitio Quarry — in Barangay Callawa, Buhangin District.

The rebels also burned one bulldozer and backhoe in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District. Another backhoe was also torched by the rebels in Purok 8, Barangay Dalagdag, Calinan District.

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