NPA owns up attack on mining
BACOLOD CITY—The New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday claimed responsibility for last week’s raid on a mining compound owned by Philex Gold Mining Corp. in Barangay Nabulao, Sipalay City.
In a statement, Andrea Guerrero, spokesperson of the NPA’s Armando Sumayang Command, accused Philex of dumping toxic wastes in Mantuboy Creek and Bacuyangan and Sipalay Rivers.
Guerrero claimed that the dumping of toxic wastes led to fish kill on the shores of Sipalay and the loss of water sources for irrigation to farmers.
The management of Philex on Monday, however, denied that its exploration activities in Sipalay City have produced toxic wastes that led to environmental damages.
Rex Cagawan, Philex mining officer in charge in Sipalay, said the firm was not operating in the area yet and was still in the exploration stage.
Cagawan said the firm remained committed to environmental protection.
He said the firm planted at least 33,000 tree seedlings, maintains at least 23 hectares of land for a tree plantation and continues to protect at least 10 hectares of forest land in the area.
He said while the firm has not received any taxation letter from the rebels, recent rebel raids have hurt its operations in Sipalay City.
Rebel spokesperson Guerrero said thousands of residents in different villages in Sipalay City and Cauayan town have been displaced by mining operations.
Lt. Col. Rodrigo Sosmena, 47th Infantry Battalion commander, however, dismissed the NPA’s claim as propaganda.
Sosmena said the NPA’s intention was to punish the mining firm for not paying so-called revolutionary taxes.
Philex had been raided twice by the NPA since 2008, a fate also suffered by Maricalum Mining Co., whose company guards were disarmed by rebels in a recent raid.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. has ordered the Army and police to secure all mining firms in the province after the raid on Philex.
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