COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Communist rebels allegedly attacked a banana plantation in Makilala town, North Cotabato early Monday and torched an expensive farm vehicle in what the military believed was a case of extortion.
Lt. Col. Noel dela Cruz, chief of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said about 10 suspected New People’s Army rebels arrived at the Dole Stanfilco plantation in Barangay Kisante at about 2:30 a.m. and set fire to a boom spray vehicle said to be worth millions of pesos.
Before fleeing, the rebels fired at other heavy equipment parked nearby, he said.
Col. Prudencio Asto, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the banana firm had been receiving demand letters for “protection money” from communist rebels operating at the foot of Mt. Apo.
Dela Cruz said it was not the first incident since the banana firm had been subjected to various attacks by the NPA when the firm ignored extortion demands.