Rebels raid mining firm in Southern Philippines and torch heavy equipment

April 5 2014 New People’s Army rebels on Saturday raided a mining firm in the southern Philippine province of Agusan del Norte, reports said.

Reports said the rebels swooped down on Philippine Alstron Mining Company on the village of Tamamarkay in Tubay town and overpowered the security guards without firing a single shot before they torched several trucks and other heavy equipment.

The rebels also seized at least 6 shot guns and short firearms from the company’s security arsenal. There were no reports of casualties.

The raid came following threats made by the NPA on mining firms operating in the southern Philippines.

Just last month, rebel forces attacked a police base and government troops in Davao del Sur’s Matanao as punishment for their “reign of terror” against indigenous tribes and other communities opposing mining operations in the province.

Dencio Madrigal, a spokesman for the NPA-Valentine Palamine Command, said the deadly attacks were a punishment for police and military units protecting Glencore Xstrata. He accused the mining firm of exploiting nearly 100,000 hectares of ancestral lands of indigenous Lumad Blaans tribes, and peasants in the region.

Jorge Madlos, a regional rebel spokesman, also warned mining firms and fruit plantations in the region, saying military operations in Mindanao have escalated and have become more extensive with the aim to thwart the ever growing and widespread people’s protest against destructive mining operations and plantations.

Madlos said among their targets are Russell Mines and Minerals, Apex Mining Corp. and Philco in southern Mindanao; Dolefil, Del Monte and Sumifru plantations in northern Mindanao; TVI Resource Development Philippines in western Mindanao whose operations inside the ancestral domain of indigenous Subanen and Moro tribes are being opposed by villagers.

NPA and Moro rebels had previously attacked TVI Resources in Zamboanga province.

“If one recalls, more than 400 families were forced to evacuate their ancestral lands because of TVI and the ruthless military operations that ensued to protect it in Buug, Zamboanga del Sur. In order to defend the people’s human rights and general wellbeing, the NPA launched tactical offensives against TVI as well as against units of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU protecting it, such as the ambush on February 2012 that hit elements of the army intelligence group operating on the behest of TVI and the imposition of the local government to allow TVI mining operations on Subanen ancestral lands is one of the bases the NPA raided on April 9, 2012 the PNP station in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur,” Madlos said.

NPA rebels also intercepted a group of army soldiers who were using a borrowed truck from TVI and disarmed them in Diplahan town in Zamboanga Sibugay province two years ago. The rebels also burned the truck before releasing the soldiers.

“In view of these events, the NDFP in Mindanao calls upon the Lumad and Moro peoples, peasants and workers, religious and other sectors to further strengthen their unity and their courage to oppose the interests of imperialist mines and plantations, which are exceedingly damaging to Mindanao, to its people and to the environment. We call upon the units of the NPA in Mindanao to be ever more daring in their defense of people’s interests against the greed and rapacity of the local ruling classes and their imperialist master,” Madlos said.

TVI Resource Development Philippines has repeatedly denied all accusations against them. It recently ended its gold mining operation in Mount Canatuan in Zamboanga del Norte’s Siocon town after several years of operations and now has a gold-silver project in the town of Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur province and a nickel plant in Agusan del Norte province. (Mindanao Examiner)