DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / June 11, 2012) – Philippine rebels on Monday have owned up to daring raids on two mining firms and a milling plant, including attacks on government soldiers in the southern region of Mindanao.
Rigoberto Sanchez, a spokesman for the communist group New People’s Army-Merardo Arce Command, said the June 8 attacks were coordinated that targeted the Canadian-owned Philco Mining in the village of Camanlangan in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province.
He said rebel forces also swooped down on a milling plant in the village of Pamintaran in nearby Maragusan town where Milagrosa-Oz Minerals are operating. He said rebels torched mining equipment and power generator sets and seized more than two dozen weapons from the raids.
The NPA also held captive for four hours a police officer, Charlito Alcuezar, before he was released to village officials in the town of Nabunturan.
Sanchez said they also attacked government soldiers and wounded 5 of them in Mawab town.
“A day after the successful raids, the NPA thwarted a reinforcement from the 71st Infantry Battalion, releasing a command-detonated anti-tank explosive in Mawab town, damaging a military truck and wounding five fascist troops,” he said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
“The NPA offensive in Compostela Valley is part of the continuing campaign against destructive large-scale mining companies in the region. The NPA upholds the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) standing policy against foreign big mining firms, the operations of which have damaged the environment and dislocated peasants and indigenous peoples,” Sanchez said.
He said destructive large-scale mining operations in the hinterlands of Compostela Valley resulted in landslides and other calamities in recent years.
“Accompanying these operations is a spate of human rights violations as a result of military operations under the Oplan Bantay Laya. Despite this, the US-Aquino regime encourages the billion dollar gold and copper exploitation in the country with a deceptively revised but basically the same pro-imperialist and anti-people mining policy,” he said.
Oplan Bantay Laya is the military’s code name for its anti-insurgency operations.
Sanchez warned of more attacks against mining firms and soldiers protecting them. “Mining firms in the region and their uniformed coddlers in the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines can expect more escalated and coordinated raids and ambuscades by the NPA to defend the interest of the people and the national patrimony,” he said.