The Lapanday Foods Corporation condemned the killing of one of its security guards at the security outpost of the Hijo Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (HARBCO) located at Utley Road, Barangay Apokon, Tagum City, on Sunday, April 2.
In a press statement from LFC, the company said about 150 men armed with guns, spears, and bolos attacked the HARBCO security outpost where the said guard was “brutally hacked to death 20 times.” HARBCO has an existing contract with Lapanday Foods Corporation.
Dead on the spot from more than 20 hack wounds in the different parts of his body was security guard Tony Buisan, 36, from Pikit, North Cotabato, who was deployed to secure HARBCO’s farm and its facilities.
LFC said the armed men were allegedly led by RudyHito O. Morion, chairman of Korpong Magsasaging sa Madaum Inc. (KOMAMAI), and who managed to enlist some members of the Ata tribe ostensibly for work in the farm. KOMAMAI is another splinter group claiming to represent the agrarian reform beneficiaries of HARBCO.
The victim, along with three other security guards, led by security officer Abdullah Abpi, arrived at the site after receiving a call for reinforcement following the earlier disarming of four outpost guards by these attackers.
One of the disarmed guards however managed to send a distress call to his team mates.
Responding to the call for reinforcement, the security guards, including the victim, were met by an unruly and violent mob who unrelentingly attacked them.
Before he was completely overpowered by the sheer number of his attackers, Buisan was able to retaliate, wounding one of his attackers, the Tagum City police reported.
The wounded was identified as Pirot Umagbay, 25, a resident of Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong. He was brought to the Davao Regional Medical Center for treatment.
However, he has been placed under police watch, pending the filing of
criminal charges against him.
The Tagum police reported that these armed men arrived using a bus, a van and a pick- up truck at around 4:30 PM and immediately overpowered the outpost guards stationed
along Utley Road. After the attack, the group also illegally occupied the security bunker, and the farm’s packing house 5 and reservoir.
“Yet, the armed men he led in committing these criminal acts were not ARBs,” LFC stated.
They are also residents outside of Madaum.
The means and methods now employed by these armed groups, supported by their allies, seek to destroy lives and properties to end productive and beneficial partnerships.
These groups, with their destructive objectives are engaging in economic sabotage.
“They must be effectively stopped,” Lapanday said.
Lapanday said they are “grateful for the timely intervention of Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa R. Timbol who arrived at the site to talk to the men from the Ata tribe who hailed from her municipality. Some 30 members later surrendered Monday afternoon, April 3.
“They were brought to the PNP regional office for further investigation.
Criminal charges, for murder, serious illegal detention, trespassing, among others, are being prepared against Morion and those who killed Buisan during the course of this unnecessary and vicious attack,” Lapanday said.
Meanwhile, HARBCO Chairman Pablito G. Romanillos and General Manager Genaro B. Biol asked Tagum City Mayor Allan L. Rellon to immediately launch an investigation on the incident. In their letter dated April 3, they requested Mayor Rellon to investigate the presence of unidentified personnel at Utley Road near the HARBCO farm.
“Our fear (is) that this group of people can damage the banana farm that we operate and part of which is presently managed by LFC,” the HARBCO officials said.