Mayor Mark Golez of Silay City, Negros Occidental has denounced the violence perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) in torching the heavy equipment used for quarry operations in the neighboring town of EB Magalona earlier this week.
“I condemn the cruel and violent act of groups who commit illegal activities, including the burning of backhoes in EB Magalona. To my fellow Silaynon, now is the time for us to come together in unity,” Golez said in a statement issued in the local dialect on April 16, 2021.
He did not directly mention the NPA in his statement, but it was clear that he was referring to the communist-terrorist group after the NPA’s Roselyn Jean Pelle Command based in northern Negros owned up to the burning of the heavy equipment on the night of April 12, with the aim of “punishing large-scale quarrying operations, which recently caused massive flooding in the area,” and “sanctioning Golez.”
Golez dismissed as lies the claim of the NPA that he is a quarry operator who owns the three backhoes damaged during the incident.
“There is no quarry operation registered under my name, either in Silay or in any other place, and I don’t own any equipment, particularly the backhoes burned in EB Magalona,” he said.
The NPA alleged that the torched heavy machines were stationed in Hacienda Vista Alegre, Barangay E. Lopez, Silay City when it has been established by the police that the incident took place in Sitio Buenas Aires, Barangay Consing, EB Magalona.
The case has already been endorsed by Lt. Col. Petate, chief of the Silay City Police, to the EB Magalona Municipal Police, which identified Ryan Villan Corp. as the owner of the two units, and village chief Arnie Benedicto of Barangay Lantad, Silay City as the proprietor of the other unit.
The damaged heavy equipment have been issued permits and licenses, Golez said, adding that in Silay, the city government strictly implements policies and regulations against illegal quarrying.
Nothing can justify the violence and destruction perpetrated by the NPA, he added.
Golez noted that quarry operations play a role in the implementation of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, which paves the way for the construction of projects, such as farm-to-market roads that bring development and opportunities to people in remote areas.
“It is clear to us, that this group committed the gruesome crime to oppose progress and development of the upland communities in the province,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the NPA, are listed as a terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Nanette Guadalquiver, PNA)