CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet: Cordillera police condemned the treacherous attack by New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas of the Lepanto Mine site in Mankayan, Benguet on Wednesday night.
NPA rebels attacked the dam area of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corp. (LCMC), burning the chemical and mineral laboratory owned by Xian Jinrui Lianliungang, located at Cabatuan, Colalo, Mankayan.
The harassment resulted in a firefight between rebels and troopers from the Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion that wounded Private Class Arthur Bag-ay. A stray bullet hit heavy equipment operator Jerson Guisguiswoang Awini.
The NPAs also detonated explosives destroying a newly constructed community police precinct, a backhoe owned by Barangay Chairman Ambino Padawi and a floating machine for processing copper owned by businessman Jian Lianlungang.
A lime mixing plant and a bulldozer owned by Flores Construction were also blasted.
Two unexploded explosive devices left in a bulldozer and a backhoe did not explode, the Cordillera police said.
The NPA’s Chadli Molintas Command and the Benguet-based Jennifer Carino Command claimed responsibility for the attack supposedly as a punitive action against the mining firm and government forces allegedly “protecting mining firms.”
LCMC officials have not issued any statement regarding the attack.
Cordillera police director, Chief Supt. Elmo Sarona, called the attack “a desperate move of the terrorist organization to get rid of the AFP troops that have been very effective in countering the NPA/CPP/NDF activities in the mining area.”
Meanwhile, the police assured that security measures are being implemented to ensure the safety of all potential targets including government vital installations, power lines, private companies and threatened municipal police stations to ensure that they are adequately manned by security personnel.
Makayan Mayor Materno Luspian called on the NPA to stop the atrocities where properties and lives are placed at risk. He also appealed to the rebel leaders to lay down their weapons and talk to government forces to ensure peace and order in the community.