BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The New People’s Army Roselyn Jean Pelle Command has claimed responsibility for the burning and destruction of three heavy equipment on April 12 in Brgy. Consing, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, saying the quarry operations in Malogo River caused damage to the environment.
The rebel group also claimed it was behind the ambush of barangay tanod Elmer Ortencio on April 13 in Hacienda Margarita, also in Brgy. Consing, EB Magalona, saying the latter was an active agent of the 7th Intelligence Security Unit.
Rebel group spokesperson, Ka Cecil Estrella, justified the destruction of the heavy equipment and claimed that it was successfully carried out, in response to the clamor of the people to punish large-scale quarrying operations that were blamed for the flooding in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental in January.
Estrella said in a statement she issued that the destruction brought about by the excavation of rocks, gravel, and sand from the Malogo River has altered the natural terrain and made the area vulnerable to natural calamities and the inundation of residential areas and farmlands.
Silay City Mayor Mark Golez said yesterday there is no quarry operation registered in his name, and that he is not the owner of the heavy equipment burned in EB Magalona.
Golez, who condemned the arson incident, said that the claim of the rebel group that they were just responding to people’s clamor to punish big time quarry operators being blamed for the recent flashfloods is not a justifiable reason to create destruction and terrorize the community.
The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade slammed the NPA for the destruction of the heavy equipment, with damage estimated at P16.6 million, and described it as a desperate attempt of the local terrorist group to get the support of the masses.
Meanwhile, Estrella justified the imposition of the death penalty on Ortencio, claiming he was a legitimate target as affirmed by identification cards and an ISU mission order seized from him, along with a .38 caliber revolver with ammunition, a cellular phone, and a handheld radio. Col. Michael Samson, 303IB acting commander, denounced the rebel group for the abduction and killing of Ortencio, adding that residents of Hacienda Margarita in the barangay, where the victim lived, condemned his senseless killing and are calling for justice.*