Two mining firms want to hire AFP-trained security militias

TAGANITO Mining Company and its sister THPAL, two of three mining companies attacked by New People’s Army rebels in Surigao del Norte last week, want some 200 special militiamen to protect them.

The third firm, Platinum Group Metals Inc., is also considering hiring special Cafgu active auxiliary (SCAA) personnel but has not made a formal request with the Armed Forces.

Taganito and THPAL submitted their formal request yesterday to the office of AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban, said Col. Carlito Galvez, chief of the operations division at the office of AFP deputy chief of staff for operations which will be in charge of processing the request.

There are 41 SCAA companies which were trained, equipped and managed by the military.

Taganito, THPAL, and Platinum, all based in Claver town, lost some P3 billion in equipment which were burned by some 200 NPA rebels during the attacks on Monday last week. The attacks were prompted by the firms’ refusal to pay “revolutionary tax” or extortion money, according to the military.

Galvez said the requests might need the approval of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. Upon approval, a memorandum of agreement will be forged with these firms for the recruitment of the special Cafgus. After the MOA, the military will start training SCAAs.

Galvez said the request is just a formality. “There are already agreements reached at the lower level, at the area of the 4th ID (Infantry Division).”

Asked how many special Cafgus the TMC and THPAL requested to be recruited, Galvez said, “The initial request of the companies is two SCAA companies. There are about 100 SCAAs in one company,” he said.

Even while the SCAAs are trained, equipped and managed by the military, they receive their pay from the firms utilizing them.

Regular Cafgus get a P90 a day allowance from the Armed Forces.

Galvez said the SCAAs would be for the internal security of the mining firms.

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