NPA paralyzes Del Monte heavy machinery

Ka. Emiliano Libertad
Ignacio "Eking" Balacuit Command-NPA North Central Mindanao
August 27, 2012

A unit of the New People's Army under the Ignacio "Eking" Balacuit Command paralyzed five of Del Monte's heavy equipment yesterday, August 7, around 7:00 PM, in Kagumahan, Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental.

Here in the region, agribusiness companies are engaged in fierce competition in amassing agricultural lands that serve as the primary source of livelihood for the great majority of the population. Del Monte, Dole and SUMIFRU, lording it over the agribusiness sector, in cahoots with the big landlords, are the most aggressive landgrabbers who seize the lands cultivated by the peasants for food crops and convert these for export crop production.

As of now, Del Monte is still in the land preparation stage of the recent expansion of its pineapple plantation in Kinoguitan, Sugbongcogon and other neighboring areas of eastern Misamis Oriental. As a policy of the state of the ruling class, in facilitating the entry of this company, the 58th IB was mobilized to launch a series of military operations against the NPA to ensure the establishment and protection of the investments of the foreign capitalists and the landlords.

With its thirst for profit, Del Monte could not care less if the people of Misamis Oriental will be mired further in poverty. The divestment of the farms of the peasants and their families will only worsen food shortage and an increase of unemployed reserve labor force in the countryside. Unfortunately, not all displaced farmers will be absorbed in the plantation workforce. And those lucky enough to get hired seasonally as contractual agricultural workers will have to contend with unfair labor terms such as insecurity of employment, the lack of benefits and hazardous working conditions.

After the great tragedy wrought upon by typhoon Sendong on the cities of Cagayan and Iligan and adjacent municipalities, NDF-Mindanao declared a moratorium on the further expansion of the agribusiness companies' plantations, censured them on their relentless exploitative and oppressive practices on the workers, farmers and Lumads and their environmentally destructive operations.

Col. Osias' empty talk about their supposedly successful defense of the interests of the ruling class who are their real bosses is clearly unbelievable. They might have, at one time, been able to thwart a plan to paralyze the equipment of Del Monte in one barrio when they encountered one NPA unit last August 2 in Ampianga, but in many barrios, it proved unachievable to deal with each of the many mobile units of the NPA. In Kagumahan, not one of their units has thwarted the NPA's mission.

The aspirations of the peasant masses to own the land they till could only be achieved through the agrarian revolution advanced by the New People's Army in the countryside. The entry of many agribusiness plantations only makes this aspiration even harder to achieve. Because of this, the peasants extended willfully their all-out support to the NPA.

Despite the strong counterrevolutionary armed forces of the ruling class, as the genuine army of the poor, the NPA is determined to oppose the expansion of the operations of these companies and will not hesitate to launch punitive actions against them. Just this month, the AFP has incurred several casualties in encounters against the NPA. Last August 15, four of their troops were killed while another two were wounded in an encounter in Labas, San Isidro, Medina, Misamis Oriental; while one was killed and one was wounded last August 12 in Purok 6, Bangbang, Medina.

At this juncture, we declare our commitment to defend the rights and welfare of the poor and the oppressed. May this serve as a general warning to the others. Moreover, we reiterate our warning to contractors not to do business or to terminate their contracts with these anti-people agribusiness companies to avoid getting entangled in the conflict.

We call on the people of the affected areas to strongly oppose the expansion plans of Del Monte, Dole, SUMIFRU and other big agribusiness companies who exploit and oppress the people, destroy the environment and aggravate the problem of food security. They should not be hoodwinked by the sugar-coated bullets of these companies' propagandists falsely envisioning comfortable lives the plantation could offer to them. Del Monte pineapple plantations have been established in Bukidnon even before the Second World War, but by looking at the conditions of the peasants and Lumads who originally owned the lands now planted with pineapple, sadly, they have remained poor, and even poorer, until now. In the same way, the sweet-talking psywar experts of the 4th ID in their Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) activities are in fact poisoning the minds of the people and serve well the purpose of the agribusiness companies in winning the peoples’ consent to concede peacefully their remaining pieces of lands to big foreign and local capitalists.