LUCENA CITY, Quezon -- The New People’s Army will continue to attack mining firms operating in different parts of the country despite the security being provided by the military, Communist Party of the Philippines spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal declared Saturday.
“The NPA will continue to carry out military action against big plunderous mining firms, especially those being secured by military and paramilitary units, and those directly engaged in outright violations of the people's rights, interests, and welfare,” Rosal said in a statement sent to Inquirer.
He denounced plans by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deploy more military and paramilitary units to train private security forces to serve as security guards to foreign mining firms operating in the Philippines.
“This starkly exhibits the Arroyo regime and its armed forces' outright servility to, and collusion with, big foreign capitalist interests in their all-out plunder of the country's already dwindling natural resources. It demonstrates how the Philippine military actually serves as a private army not only of bureaucrats and politicians but also of big, plunderous capitalists, especially multinationals,” Rosal said.
Last Monday, AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon said that the military was willing to provide security assistance to foreign mining companies after communist guerrillas attacked two mine sites in the last three months.
Major General Juanito Gomez, 7th Infantry Division chief, admitted that he had signed a Memorandum of Agreement to secure and guard 3,700 hectares controlled by DMCI Mining Corp. (DMCIMC) in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.
According to the military, the site serves as a “mobility corridor” for communist guerillas operating in the area.
Under the agreement, DMCIMC will employ Special Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (SCAA) to guard the company premises.
The special guards will “render security services, maintain peace and order, guard and protect the sites, installations, personnel, equipment, and properties of the company,” the MOA stated.
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said there was nothing wrong with government soldiers providing security to mining companies, or to private firms in general, as long as this was covered by guidelines.
Rosal cited reports of increased presence of government military and paramilitary detachments in more mining areas nationwide, including Lafayette in Rapu-Rapu, Albay; Filminera in Masbate; Marcopper in Marinduque; TVIRD in Zamboanga del Norte; NMRDC in Compostela; Rio Tuba in Palawan; Crew Minerals in Mindoro Oriental; and Climax Arimco/Oxiana in Nueva Vizcaya, Abra, Batangas, and Zambales.
Aside from acting as security guards to mining companies, Rosal claimed that military detachments near mine sites were also being used to suppress local resistance by peasant and national minority communities who are the first to be displaced and suffer the economic, environmental, and humanitarian disasters resulting from “unbridled destructive” mining operations.
"Mining firms have therefore become engaged in and directly responsible for the violations of human rights committed by these armed troops," he said.
The CPP spokesman also claimed that resistance to mining operations across the country continue to intensify and that the people are enraged by how foreign mining companies have been siphoning out billions of dollars worth of Philippine gold and other mineral resources while Filipinos wallow in poverty.
Rosal said it is estimated that since the 1970s, foreign mining companies have “plundered” as much as $30 billion worth of mineral resources from the Philippines.
Earlier, CPP issued an order to communist guerillas to stage armed attacks against mining firms to stop their operations.
Last month, a band of NPA rebels attacked a Swiss mining company operating in Tampakan town in South Cotabato province. Rosal said the raid was meant to punish the company for alleged land grabbing, plunder, and environmental destruction.