TACLOBAN CITY – The burning of heavy equipment used to build a road by the New People’s Army (NPA) is a clear indication that communist terrorist groups (CTGs) are against development in Northern Samar.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said on Friday that the incident derails the completion of the vital road project that forms part of a road link that will connect Northern and Eastern Samar provinces.
“The recent burning in Las Navas, Northern Samar of construction equipment used for road projects clearly shows that the NPA is anti-development and anti-people,” Diñoso told the Philippine News Agency.
On Thursday, 20 NPA members burned 10 heavy equipment in San Francisco village, owned by CDU Construction based in Catarman town.
The PHP32-million worth of equipment torched by rebels include two backhoes, a bulldozer, loader, dump truck, self-loading truck prime mover, crane, grader, welding generator set, and road roller.
“There could only be one reason for this arson. Their demand for money or more money has not been met as contractors have had enough of these terrorists’ extortion. Nonetheless, the contractors will not be cowed and have pledged to not give in to terrorists’ demands,” Diñoso said.
The road under construction is part of the new highway that connects the towns of Jipapad in Eastern Samar and Las Navas in Northern Samar.
Work includes the opening of 1.8 kilometers roadway, concrete paving of 2.4 kilometers carriageway, drainage canal, construction of a bridge and its approaches, and installation of road safety devices.
Las Navas, a fourth-class town in Northern Samar with a population of 36,621, has been the center of propaganda by several organizations linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)