30 communist rebels torch Philex Mining’s vehicles, bunk house

At least 30 communist rebels raided on Wednesday afternoon the compound of Philex Mining Company in Barangay (village) Nabulao, Sipalay City in Negros Occidental.

No shot was fired but the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels burned the firm’s three vehicles and bunk house and took six shotguns of their security guards, military and police officials said.

This was the second time in three years that the NPA attacked Philex Mining. In 2008, communist rebels torched millions of pesos worth of mine drilling and heavy equipment as well as the barracks of the workers.

Lt. Col. Rodrigo Sosmena, 47th Infantry Battalion commander, said about 30 armed rebels swooped down on the mining compound, disarmed guards of their service firearms and three hand held radios, at the their outpost located about three kilometers away from the compound.

The rebels, believed to be members of the Armando Sumayang Command, also torched a cargo truck rented by the mining firm, as well as a bunk house of the guards and workers.

The rebels also burned down a Kia Rio car and later commandeered the company’s service pickup vehicle, said Supt. Milko Lirazan, director of the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion.

The rebels later withdrew towards the Philex airport site and burned the pick-up before fleeing in unknown directions, he added.

The police had yet to determine the extent of the damage, said Lizaran.

Sosmena said his troops were still tracking down the perpetrators as of Wednesday night.

The rebels conducted the raid in line with the campaign of priest-turned-rebel leader Frank Fernandez to enforce a revolutionary policy of completely banning “destructive” mining operations and explorations on Negros Island.

In late 2010, communist rebels raided the Maricalum Mining Company compound in Barangay San Jose, Sipalay City, and took 20 firearms from security guards and two policemen who responded to the raid, police records showed.

But ILt. Rey Balibagoso, 47th IB Civil Military Operations officer, said the NPA was just trying to project the raid as an anti-mining operation to cover up for its motive to extort money from the mining firm.

He said the attack was aimed force the mining firm to pay revolutionary taxes.



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