BUTUAN CITY (PNA) -Some 50 fully armed New People’s Army rebels carrying M14 and M16 armalite rifles dressed like Philippine Army soldiers in black fatigue uniforms attacked a wood processing plant in rural Barangay Amparo, Butuan City almost noon Thursday, belated reportfrom Caraga PNP regional information office said.
The report claimed the communist rebels made a checkpoint at the barangay road infront Sanglay Sawmill owned by Sanglay family here in Butuan City then after securing perimeters attacked the sawmill and disarmed security guards manning the wood processing plant.
Fernando Mercado Jaime, a member of Al Nino Security Agency manning the Sanglay Wood Processing Plant told police investigators that the NPA rebels forcibly took away from them two shotguns with live ammunitions and one “Sam X9” 9mm pistolwith five (5) 9mm ammunitions.
The rebels allegedly warned continuing illegal logging operations in the area.
After issuing warnings, the rebels withdrew as if nothing happened towards another village of Butuan City, Barangay Bitan-agan. PNP personnel of Butuan City Police Office with 13th Regional Public Safety Battalion proceeded to the area to conduct ocular investigation and hot pursuit operations, police said
There are about 36 wood processing plants or sawmills located in Butuan City alone which are all situated near banks of Agusan river.
Environmentalists had called the attention of various concerned government agencies, LGUsfor decades now for the transfer of said sawmills because of allegations that toxic sawdust were being dumped into the river which destroyed ecology of the river that caused Agusan River almost biologically dead.
Allegations were also hurled for decades now that illegally cut logs of banned hardwood species were being smuggled, sneaked in into the 36 wood processing plants with some banned logs being mixed with planted wood species like falcata to make it appear it is part of the not banned plantation wood species.
But all these environmental watch groups concerned and warnings allegedly only fall into deaf ears of concerned government agencies. (PNA/Ben Serrano)
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