ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected mebers of the New People’s Army (NPA) raided a mining firm in the southern Philippine province of Agusan del Norte barely weeks after they threatened to launch attacks on mining companies operating in the restive region, reports said Sunday.
It said the rebels swooped down before sunrise on Saturday on Philippine Alstron Mining Company on the village of Tamamarkay in Tubay town and overpowered security guards without firing a single shot and torched several trucks and other heavy equipment.
The rebels also seized at least 6 shot guns and short firearms from the company’s security arsenal. There were no reports of casualties. The raid came following threats made by the NPA on mining firms operating in the southern Philippines.
Just last month, rebel forces attacked a police base and government troops in Davao del Sur’s Matanao as punishment for their “reign of terror” against indigenous tribes and other communities opposing mining operations in the province.
Dencio Madrigal, a spokesman for the NPA-Valentine Palamine Command, said the deadly attacks were a punishment for police and military units protecting Glencore Xstrata. He accused the mining firm of exploiting nearly 100,000 hectares of ancestral lands of indigenous Lumad Blaans tribes, and peasants in the region.
Jorge Madlos, a regional rebel spokesman, also warned mining firms and fruit plantations in the region, saying military operations in Mindanao have escalated and have become more extensive with the aim to thwart the ever growing and widespread people’s protest against destructive mining operations and plantations.
Madlos said among their targets are Russell Mines and Minerals, Apex Mining Corp. and Philco in southern Mindanao; Dolefil, Del Monte and Sumifru plantations in northern Mindanao; TVI Resource Development Philippines in western Mindanao whose operations inside the ancestral domain of indigenous Subanen and Moro tribes are being opposed by villagers.
NPA and Moro rebels had previously attacked TVI Resources in Zamboanga province. TVI Resource Development Philippines has recently ended its gold mining operation in Mount Canatuan in Zamboanga del Norte’s Siocon town after several years of operations and now has a gold-silver project in the town of Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur province and a nickel plant in Agusan del Norte province, also a known stronghold of the communist rebel group.