At around 6:00 pm of February 19, about 100 heavily armed men belonging to the New People’s Army attacked the plantation office and truck yard of Del Monte Philippines in Camp Phillips,  Bukidnon.

The attack began with an attempt by rebels to rob a Caltex gas station along Damilag road.  The PNP responded swiftly but an exchange of gunfire followed, during which rebels burned three heavy equipment units  and a personnel bus in the Del Monte truck yard.  The rebels further attempted to torch field equipment parked at Del Monte’s nearby plantation office.  Though unsuccessful, the attackers fatally shot one guard and wounded two security personnel.  Fortunately, Del Monte employees who were trapped in their offices escaped unharmed.  After the 30-minute encounter, the rebels escaped through the road to Dahilayan where they were pursued by the police and military.

The Company, assisted by the PNP, military and local governments, has reinforced security measures to ensure the safety of its workers and the surrounding community.  Company operations were not affected by the incident.  Its key assets at the plantation and cannery have been safely secured.

It is unfortunate that this is incident happened and we are unaware of the reasons why the rebels committed such acts of violence.   Del Monte has been operating in Bukidnon for the last 87 years, and it has provided gainful employment to over 20,000 people across 10 municipalities.   Del Monte has undertaken numerous socio-civic projects that continue to improve the lives of many families in the province.

photo by Joan Lim Dorog

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