Rebel attack suspends Negros mine operationBy Carla Gomez |Inquirer Visayas
BACOLOD CITY—One of the country’s biggest mining firms has suspended operations in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, following a raid on its facilities by New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas last month, according to the firm’s highest-ranking official.
Manuel Pangilinan, chair and chief executive officer of Philex Gold Phils. Inc. (PGPI), said in a press conference with members of media from Negros Occidental that his company has put on hold its mining operations in Sipalay after the guerrilla raid.
Pangilinan said the firm would resume operations only after the peace and order situation in Sipalay has improved and the firm is protected against guerrilla attacks.
“We cannot afford to continue our operations (in Sipalay) knowing that the lives of our employees there are at risk because of NPA atrocities,” he said.
At least 30 guerrillas burned two bunkhouses of Philex Mining, a Kubota tractor with a drilling machine and one generator set, a computer set, a two-way radio set and personal belongings in the company’s exploration site in Sitio Umas, Barangay (village) Camindangan, Sipalay City, on May 3, the Army reported.
Five soldiers were killed in pursuit of the guerrillas the next day.
This was the third time that guerrillas destroyed pieces of property of Philex Mining Corp. since 2008 and 2001, allegedly for their refusal to pay revolutionary taxes to the NPA, military records showed.