Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 ‘NPA rebels’ nabbed for attack on Mati mining firm – police

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 9): 5 ‘NPA rebels’ nabbed for attack on Mati mining firm – police
Mati City, Davao Oriental (Google maps)

Five suspected communist rebels, who were armed with explosives, were arrested in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack on a nickel mining firm in Mati City in Davao Oriental, the police reported on Monday.

Senior Supt. Harry Espela, the Davao Oriental police chief, said the five rebels – whose identities had not been provided – were arrested during operations conducted by the police and the Army following the attack on Asiaticus Mining Corp. in Barangay Macambol in Mati City around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

He said some explosives were also found at an alleged safe house in Barangay Dawan, the entry point by land to Macambol.
Charges had already been filed against the arrested rebels. who have been placed in the custody of Mati City police, Espela said.

Fifteen heavily-armed New People’s Army guerrillas swooped down on the compound of the Mil-Oro Mining Corp. and its general contractor, Frasec Ventures Corp., disarmed security guards and torched several vehicles as they fled, Chief Insp. Leonilo Lad, the deputy chief of Mati City police station said.

Espela said they could not understand why the NPA hit the mining company when it has not been in operation for quite some time already.  The nickel miner has claimed over 5,000 hectares of minerals-rich land between two ecologically protected areas — the marine sanctuary of Pujada Bay and Mt. Hamiguitan, the biodiversity haven recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A report from the Philippine Army’s 701st Infantry Brigade said the attackers rounded up the mine’s personnel and lectured them about their supposed motives, which included their apparent indignation over the rejection of Gina Lopez’s confirmation as environment secretary.

Espela said an investigation was still being conducted to determine the motive of the attack.

“Aside from vehicles and equipment, the rebels also burned several structures such as a staff dormitory,” the police official said.

In a statement, NPA Southern Mindanao spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez said the attack on Mil-Oro was a “punitive action” “for its environmentally-destructive operations.”

“The latest punitive action continues the NPA’s duty in protecting the country’s natural resources and an exercise of the political authority of the People’s Democratic Government. Furthermore, it is a stern warning against large-scale and foreign mining companies that not only exploit our non-renewable resources but also victimize our people in the name of superprofit,” Sanchez said.


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