Aside from Nickel Corp.’s smelting plant and a guest house, communist guerrillas set on fire 132 dump trucks, 22 backhoes, nine barges, two cranes, two bulldozers, a compactor and a grader. contributed photo
Early morning of October 3. Three barricades are set up by the rebels. At the first barricade, Baoy Bridge, about 7 kilometers from the site, the road is blocked by a dump truck and gravel.
At the second barricade, about 5 km from the site, various vehicles block the road while at the last barricade, about 2 km from the site, the road is dumped with materials.
9:00 a.m. About 200 to 300 guerrillas of the NPA led by Ka Edron (son of George Madlos aka Ka Oris) attack the Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) compound in Barangay (village) Taganito. They are on two dump trucks, wearing fatigue and police uniforms, and armed with M-16 and AK-47 rifles.
The rebels also swoop down on the compound of Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) in nearby Barangay Cagdianao. They have other comrades posted on the mountain ridges.
Outnumbered, the company guards of both companies abandon their posts.
At the TMC compound, the rebels raise the communist flag atop the company flagpole and take away personal and company laptops, and cell phones of employees.
They herd all the people in the compound in an open area and burn down equipment and facilities.
TMC general manager Jose Anievas asks the NPA to release all other employees on the TMC site. Some 5,000 to 6,000 workers start to walk out of the area toward the town proper of Claver.
Edron and leaders take Anievas and his staff to the THPAL construction site to look for the company’s “strike force” (Sumitomo has a 12-member reaction team with high-powered firearms) but failed to locate it as the Sumitomo security manager hid it earlier.
Another group of NPA leaders talk to Japanese engineers from two Japanese firms in their quarters. They are left unharmed.
The NPA conduct an “indoctrination” session among the employees outside the TMC gate.
11:00 a.m. Governor Sol Matugas convenes a crisis committee and is joined by Jake Miranda (representative for the Mindanao Business Sector)
1:00 p.m. TMC administrative officer Rogel Cabatuan gets back his cell phone and calls Miranda who in turn gives the phone to Matugas.
Matugas talks to Edron.
Edron requests a halt in the military operations. Matugas agrees on the condition that Edron release all “hostages” (about 3,000 workers, including 100 Japanese nationals).
Matugas tells the “crisis team,” composed of Miranda, Provincial Administrator Ramon Gotinga and Ireneo Piong to proceed to TMC.
3:00 p.m. The team arrives in Claver and catches up with advancing Army units. The military asks for a written request to halt military operations.
4:00 p.m. Matugas and the crisis team completes coordination with the police and military, which agree to halt an offensive at the first barricade line.
Upon hearing from the crisis team that the military operations have been stopped, the NPA takes with them three persons—Anievas, Cabauatan and the TMC chief of the security on their way out. The NPA and the TMC executives are on board seven vehicles and proceed to Barangay Cabugo, Claver, in the north.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo arrives in Surigao City and proceeds to the TMC compund.
The crisis team finally arrives at the TMC gate as the first government representatives to enter the area.
4:30 p.m. The rebels alight from the vehicles in Cabugo and release Anievas and two others who drive back to the TMC compound. There, Anievas and Robredo talk.
Efforts to put out the fires begin. Soon after, all fires were put under control.
The crisis team conducts an inventory of Japanese nationals in the area. Ramon Gotinga debriefs the Japanese.
7:45 p.m. All roads are cleared of traffic. The crisis team finishes its preliminary information gathering.
Around 50 AFP/PNP personnel are still on foot patrol and clearing the road leading to TMC.
10:00 p.m. AFP/PNP personnel finally arrive at TMC.