MANILA – Lapanday Foods Corporation on Sunday blamed Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano for triggering a chain of events that led to the theft of equipment and burning of its box and plastic manufacturing plants in Barangay Mandug, Davao City by unidentified men who disarmed factory guards and entered the compound at 2 a.m. of April 29.
The company said no employees who were working at the time of the incident were harmed or injured, but added that “the burning of the plant will lead to the displacement of hundreds of employees and adversely affected those who have existing businesses with the box and plastic plant.”
“It is they who are now jobless and shall bear the brunt of the consequences of this vicious act, the company said.
While LFC referred to the raiders as “unidentified intruders,” the communist rebels had earlier owned the attack on the box plant, a plastic plant and a ranch owned by the Lorenzo family in Davao City.
A brief statement from Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman of the New People’s Army’s Southern Mindanao Regional Operation Command, said guerrillas from the Pulang Bagani Battalion attacked the box plants of Lapanday Foods Corp. in Barangay Mandug, Buhangin district; the Macondray Plastics Inc. plant in Barangay Bunawan, Panacan district; and a Lorenzo-owed ranch in Barangay Pangyan, Calinan district.
In blaming Mariano, the company recalled that last week, the DAR chief, “who failed in his attempt to install farmers belonging to a breakaway group of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) on lands already registered with Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative-1 (HEARBCO-1) , threatened the company for prohibiting him from escorting these farmers and their supporters from various leftist organizations.”
This breakaway group and their supporters, according to Lapanday, “were coddled and abetted by the DAR leadership to openly defy the final and executory order of the court that ruled there was no agrarian dispute and DAR had no jurisdiction on the case.”
The company rued that “DAR under Mariano’s leadership has become a tool that causes disruption in productive farm operations that pushed persons to defy laws, inflict injury and damage to even other ARBs and ultimately, weaken the economy of the country. ”
Mobile phones, computers stolen
According to Lapanday, employee mobile phones, computers and other company properties were also stolen by the unidentified intruders who also ransacked the offices of the plant.
As they were withdrawing from the plant, the unidentified intruders set paper and other flammable materials on fire that eventually engulfed the plant.
The company said in a statement that it will cooperate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) as it investigates this latest criminal act of this armed group, but hoped law enforcement agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), will “exert effort to prevent these unidentified elements from further endangering the safety and security of people and inflicting damage to private property.”
Lapanday added it “hopes that perpetrators of this criminal act will all be identified, charged and brought before the criminal justice system.”