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Rebels attack banana farm in S Philippines
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09:26, September 21, 2009

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The leftist New People's Army rebels have attacked a banana plantation of Dole Philippines, a leading producer and marketer of high-quality fruits, in Tago townin Surigao del Sur and burned two heavy equipment, Philippine military said on Sunday.

Maj. Michele Anayron, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division, said the rebels attack the farm because of DOLE's refusal to pay revolutionary taxes, a euphemism for extortion demand, to the leftist movement.

Anayron said that about 20 to 30 rebels swooped down on the plantation at Sitio Kabalawan in Barangay Anahao-Daan at around 10:00 a.m. Saturday local time.

The rebels then burned a backhoe and a bulldozer that were contracted by Dole and uprooted banana stalks. Anayron, however, could not immediately say the extent of stalks uprooting.

In its website, Dole described itself as the "world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and fresh cut flowers with a growing line of quality packaged foods."

Lt. Col. Benjamin Pedralvez, commander of the 58th Infantry Battalion, said the attack is another proof that the leftists are against development. "They do not want the people to have development and jobs," he said.

Pedralvez bolstered Anayron's claims that Dole is not paying revolutionary tax, catching the ire of the rebel who he said are now being pursued by government troops. "That is what they do to those who do not pay (revolutionary tax)," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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