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NPA claims weekend assault in Davao

Communist insurgents on Wednesday owned up to a daring attack on President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown where they destroyed trucks owned by fruit companies in Davao City.

Rubi del Mundo, spokesman for the New People's Army (NPA), said the weekend assault was a punitive action against the Japanese Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru) and Ayala-owned Highland Banana Corp. The rebel group torched three trucks owned and pushed them off a cliff in Calinan district.

"Workers and peasants in corporate plantations around Southern Mindanao are rejoicing Saturday's punitive action," he said.

He added the attack is part of its revolutionary movement's policy to penalize big companies that continue to exist with impunity by inflicting unimpeded environmental destruction and exploitation of peasants and workers.

Del Mundo branded the two companies as "notorious" and accused the Sumitomo Fruits Corp. and Highland Banana Corp. of exploiting workers' welfare by giving barely liveable wages, subjecting them to inhuman working conditions, union busting and other repressive labor practices, particularly in their farms in Davao City.

"Both companies push plantation workers to work almost 12 hours, sometimes 16 hours daily under different schemes meant to extract super-profit. Packing plant workers are also made to work the same length of hours without sufficient safety implements. Sumifru and Highland, likewise, continue to utilize toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their boom truck sprayers. Workers report that they are routinely exposed to the harmful chemicals being sprayed by boom trucks," he added.

Del Mundo said peasant families who initially expected to be alleviated from poverty by entering into agri-business venture agreements with Sumifru and Highland are faring no better under highly-exploitative arrangements that eventually cost them their lands. "With no control over production, they fall prey to the companies' exclusive and manipulative management schemes that have buried them deep into indebtedness and have resulted in the seizure of their lands," he said.

There was no immediate statement or reaction from neither Mayor Sarah Duterte nor the two companies on the accusations against them by the communist group.

[Source: By Al Jacinto, The Manila Times, Zamboanga City, 17Jan18]

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Peace Negotiations in the Philippines
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