Rebel Forces in Philippines Raid Sumitomo Fruits Japanese Fruit Exporter
Sumifru, or Sumitomo Fruits, a Japanese fruit exporter in the southern Philippines was recently raided by rebels. Rebel forces raided the banana plantation and packaging facility of Sumifru in the village of Barobo in Bukidnon’s Valencia City as a punitive action in retaliation for the company’s alleged anti-people activities and land grabbing.
Mamerto Bagani, a spokesman for the New People’s Army, also accused the Japanese firm as anti-labor and engaging in environmentally destructive operations of their pineapple and banana plantations, according to Mindanao Examiner. No casualties were reported, but some 11 million pesos worth of equipment were destroyed by rebels.
“The damages incurred by Sumifru reportedly amounted to P11 million after the NPA attacked its banana packing house and paralyzed a cargo truck, a backhoe, six assorted machines, and three laptop computers,” said Bagani.
Bagani also charged the company for polluting the water, air, and soil with chemicals and waste, while driving away peasants and indigenous lumads from their lands due to its continuing expansion operations.
The exporter, which currently covers more than 5,000 hectares, sources/produces/ships/markets various fresh fruits such as bananas, pineapple, and papaya, and exports them to Japan, China, Korea, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Russia.
Last year, Sumifru was also raided by rebel forces in the village of Bangbang in North Cotabato’s Matalam town. The rebels disarmed the guards and seized a shotgun and radio equipment before torching four trucks.