By NITZ ARANCON
THE tension that has been gripping San Miguel village in Barangay Lapasan here escalated as a still unidentified group, believed to be some angry residents, burned one of the backhoes being used by a landowner in its quarrying operations in the area.
Police said the group attacked by throwing a Molotov cocktail at one of the three backhoes being used by the contractor of Mindanao Health Care Corp. at 4 pm on Tuesday.
Lapasan police chief Ariel Philip Pontillas said investigators were still trying to identify suspects.
Roger Bolanon, president of the Federation of Homeowners Associations in the area, said even the Federation was clueless on the group behind the arson.
Bolanon said the attack came while the quarrying was ongoing amid protests by residents, and despite a stoppage order issued by city hall against Mindanao Health Care represented by its president, Jose Vicente Cabrera.
He said the firm was ordered by Mayor Oscar Moreno to stop the quarrying on Nov. 28, 2014, because it had no permit from the local government, and over fears the operations would compromise the soil integrity in the area.
Bolanon said the firm resumed the operations, angering villagers with a stake on the access road that cuts across the property.
Last month, the city council approved the release of P2.6 million so city hall could buy the a part of the property being claimed by Mindanao Health Care. The firm rejected the city hall offer.
“Gigamayan ra sila alang P2.6 million, ma-o na nga wala sila modawat anang maong kandidad, ug nagpadayon sila sa pag-quarry bisan naay stoppage order ni Mayor Moreno,” Bolanon said.