“Joma Sison has no control over the devil NPA anymore. We lost everything because of them. If they are true “People’s Army”, why they are doing these to us?” a teary word by Felipe Sebastian, one of the protesters in front of Surigao del Sur provincial capitol building on Wednesday condemning the extortion activities of the New People’s Army in CARAGA Region.
Stanfilco, the pioneer banana exporter in the country, decided to close shop due to years of harassments from the armed-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines – the New People’s Army (NPA).
The company, a division of Dole Philippines, Inc., has already sent notice of indefinite shutting down of operations to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Caraga Region office. The company will cease to operate starting Tuesday, August 9, as per an article published by Inquirer on August 7, 2016.
Company officials said they could no longer afford to incur losses due to persistent attacks from the communist rebels. This year alone, the company lost about P20 million after the NPA burned its container vans used in delivering bananas to Davao City.
Stanfilco has refused to pay the so-called ‘revolutionary tax’ being asked by the communist rebels.
The company employed around 1,500 workers, 400 of whom were directly affected by its closure. Officials from Surigao del Sur provincial government and other municipalities, where the company operates, are trying to address the concerns of the workers who lost their jobs.
“We’re saddened about this development, because not only the 400 workers who are directly affected but the more than 5,000 dependents including their families and children,” Surigao del Sur Gov. Vicente T. Pimentel Jr. said.
Over the weekend, the affected workers and their families staged a peaceful protest rally to denounce the NPA attacks on Stanfilco.
“Where now are their claims that they are soldiers of the masses that will look after our welfare? We are here not to fight with arms but to condemn the extortion activities of the NPA which cost our livelihood,” a worker at the protest rally said.
The leadership od CPP-NPA, especially Joma Sison and Luis Jalandoni has yet to issue a comment, but it is expected that both will deny the claim that NPA is the reason of the company’s shutdown. /Fanny Jalacjac/