Bicol solon condemns rebel attacks on Albay airport

May 21, 2012 10:36 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, May 21 — A lawmaker from the Bicol region condemned on Monday the latest terror attack by communist rebels on the proposed Albay International Airport.

The military reported that at least eight rebels belonging to the New People's Army (NPA) swooped down on the project site located in Barangay Alobo, Daraga, Albay at around 9:35 p.m. Friday and opened fire on the 12 soldiers guarding the facility.

Two dump trucks, one backhoe, two articulated trucks, two payloaders, two road rollers and one grader owned by Sunrest Corporation were burned by the rebels.

Authorities said the rebels resented the non-payment of extortion demanded from private contractors.

"We view this incident with grave concern since these terrorists and/or bandits no longer choose what to destroy or where to sow fear and destruction," said Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe in a statement.

"Even major developments in our region, which will tremendously help the lives of our people, are no longer spared," he said.

Batocabe said the proposed Bicol International Airport is a major developmental efforts of the Bicolano political leaders as well as the Aquino administration. It is a private-public partnership (PPP) project designed to promote tourism, increase employment and spur economic growth in the region.

"When President Benigno Aquino III approved the continuation of the project, our fellow Bicolanos were all jubilant as we anticipated the numerous benefits it will bring to our lives," he said.

"What then is the fault of the proposed Bicol International Airport so as to invite such dastardly act? Why are there people who are heartless and do not want us Bicolanos to dream for a better life? Why do they want us Bicolanos to remain poor and undeveloped?" he added.

The Ako Bicol party-list solon said they will file appropriate resolution in the House of Representatives to investigate the incident.

More importantly, Batocabe said, "we want to institute measures that will instill confidence of investors in PPP projects in rural areas, ensure peace and order, and promote the unimpaired development of our countryside for the benefit of our people."

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it has already ordered units guarding flagship projects to keep a tighter watch on the ongoing construction work to prevent NPA rebels from staging similar attack like the one that took place in Daraga, Albay.

Military units were also ordered to coordinate closely with local government units, police, and community officials to gain knowledge on the movement of NPA formations in their areas of jurisdiction. (PNA)

scs/LGI

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