New People’s Army (NPA) members torched a wealthy businessman’s poultry farm in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, on Friday, burning millions of pesos worth of livestock, a military spokesman said.

Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said the incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. at the poultry farm owned by Rio Onyx Go in Brgy. Dalaon.

Seven armed persons, including a woman wearing a bonnet, entered the farm, frisked the workers, and collected their cellphones before pouring gasoline and lighting up two buildings, Caber said, citing information from farm contract grower Vicente Capuno.

Both buildings were totally razed 30 minutes later and the rebels quickly fled, he said.

“About 9,000 to 10,000 heads of chicken ang nasunog dun sa two buildings and ang estimated damage is P3.5 million to P4 million,” Caber said in a phone interview.

Before the incident Go had been receiving calls from suspected NPA members asking P60,000 a month from the businessman, Caber said.

Aside from the poultry farm, Go also owns Ogis lechon manok, a roasted chicken chain which started in Molave in the late 90s and spread to Visayas and some parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila.

On March 27, 2011, suspected rebels staged an armed robbery and also torched the Ogis chicken dressing plant in Brgy. Mabuhay.

Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz, commander of the 1st ID, has directed ground troops to intensify intelligence-gathering and coordinate with local police to prevent further attacks. (John Roson)

– end –