NPA burns plantation equipment in Valencia as ‘punitive action’ vs. abuses

Jan. 25, 2014

By Davao Today

DAVAO CITY– The New People’s Army in Bukidnon owned up to burning equipment worth P11-million in a multinational fruit plantation in Valencia, Bukidnon.

The NPA – Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Command in North Central Mindanao Region (NCMR) said they staged the raid on Sumitomo Fruits (Sumifru) Philippines packing house at Barangay Barobo last Saturday as a ‘punitive’ action for the company’s expansion and disruption of livelihood for farmers, indigenous peoples and farm workers.

The Command’s spokesperson Mamerto Bagani in a statement sent to Davao Today said the NPA destroyed a truck, one backhoe, six other equipment and three laptop computers.

They also took away a shotgun and a .38 caliber pistol from the company’s guards. No one was reportedly hurt from the attack.

Bagani said they staged this action “as warning from the revolutionary movement to businesses such as Sumifru to stop its expansion plans and exploitation of their farmworkers and the people.”

Sumifru Philippines is a multinational company engaged in sourcing and exporting Cavendish bananas, papaya and pineapple. Its investment in Mindanao began on 1970, and to date has plantations in three regions covering 14,000 hectares.

The NPA claimed that Sumifru has engaged in “land grabbing” of 5,000 hectares in two towns and two cities in Bukidnon, leading to the loss of farms and livelihood for indigenous peoples and farmers.  Bagani said most of the farmers and indigenous peoples “have become slaves for the multinational as wage-earners.”

Bagani said workers were paid with “slave-like wages” at P289 a day. The spokesperson said such conditions pushed workers to stage a strike in 2010.

The NPA spokesperson also said “serious damage has been made by Sumifru to the environment with its operation. Chemicals and wastes from the company have polluted rivers, air and soil.”

Sumifru on its website said it has received the “first certified Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)” that assured food products were made with minimal detriment to the environment by reducing chemical inputs and assuring workers’ health and safety.

Sumifru also faced a labor arbitration case in Compostela Valley early this month after union members of Namasufa filed a notice of strike for the termination and suspension of 250 workers “without due process.” The company claimed that workers spiked bananas with wires.

The National Conciliation and Mediation Board ordered the reinstatement of the workers with back pay after a series of arbitration meetings.

Meanwhile, another NPA attack was reported last Thursday night at Makilala, North Cotabato.  The Armed Forces of the Phiilppines Eastern Mindanao Command said eight soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion were injured by a landmine while on board a military vehicle along Barangay Luna Norte. (

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