NPA admits torching mining equipment, cars

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Monday, April 14, 2014


THE New People's Army (NPA) claimed responsibility on torching different equipment of the APEX Mining Company in Barangay Masara in Maco in Compostela Valley.

NPA Comval Davao Gulf Sub Regional Command spokesperson Daniel Ibarra, in a statement, said the guerillas also discharged command detonated explosive against the reinforcing troops under the Army’s 9th Infantry Battalion at Masara Apex Tenement Complex on April 12.

Ibarra said the recent offensive attack was a follow–up to an earlier tactical offensive of the 6th Pulang Bagani Company, Guerilla Front 27 Operations Command, and Guerilla Front 2 Operations Command against the US owned St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. and Malaysia–owned APEX Mining Company on April 7 and 10.

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These are punishments against the two foreign mining companies after the St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. and APEX Mining allegedly “grossly and repeatedly” violated regulations of People’s Democratic Government about environmental protection, workers welfare and people’s livelihood.

Destroyed at Apex Mining tunnels in Masara in Maco were three trucks, four drifters, three loader machines, and one mixer machine, one short crate machine hornet, a Toyota Fortuner, two pick-up vehicles, underground loader, one unit boom truck and one unit self-loading machine.

"The NPA sanction against the Apex Mining, co-owned by the country's fourth richest Filipino and among the biggest campaign contributors to Government of the Philippines -- President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Enrique Razon, was imposed due to several specific violations," Ibarra said.

Among the violations of the Apex Mining are its failure to stop expansion of underground and open-pit mining operations despite warnings issued in April and October 2013; the expansions of mining operations in reserved forest areas in Maco town that were defined by the organs of the political power in the area’s guerrilla base.

Its failure to address and indemnify casualties following the two landslides in Barangay Mainit in Maco town, which it accused Apex Mining of causing has widespread ecological destruction and the massive displacement of peasant and Lumad families since the 1970s, the NPA said.

The rebels also rapped Apex for its low wages and threat of retrenchment of its mining workers by June this year; its failure to comply with its responsibility to rehabilitate streams and bridges in Maco as part of the reparation deal; and its active role in funding and backing the 9th Infantry Battalion's counter-revolutionary operations.

"Maco town Vice Mayor Voltaire Rimando is wrong in saying that the guerilla's sanction against Apex would force the firm's closure and lead to the dislocation of hundreds of workers and residents. His concern for Apex workers is sham and inconsistent with his previous hands-off stance on victims of human rights abuses," Ibarra said.

With regards to the St. Augustine mining in Pantukan town, it wantonly violated revolutionary policies when it operated outside of their tenements, and due to setting up of the military outposts, seizures and verifications on scale miners, controlling of civilian movement, and psychological warfare against tribal leaders, Ibarra added.

Ibarra said if these mining companies cease its mining operations and withdraw from the area, the poor miners and their families would be in a better condition to freely maximize the natural resources on their own, without being exploited.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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