Suspected NPA rebels burn nickel firm’s dump trucks
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — Suspected New People’s Army rebels burned two dump trucks working for a nickel mining company operating in the town of Sofronio Española, southern Palawan Sunday night, police said Monday morning.
An initial report received by the Provincial Police Office in Palawan showed that eight communist rebels flagged down the vehicles while on their way to the pier in Sitio Ulnog, Barangay Pulot Interior in Sofronio Espanola town to unload ore from the stockpiles of Citinickel Mining Corp. for shipment at 8:30 p.m.
After seizing the vehicles and freeing its crew, the rebels doused the trucks with gasoline and set them on fire on the road side before fleeing.
Insp. Pearl Marzo, the provincial police office spokeperson, and the spokesman of the Citinickel Mining Corp. both confirmed the attack in separate statements. Government troops have been deployed to pursue the rebels believed to be operating around the area.
“We are still completing the investigation,” Marzo told Philippine Daily Inquirer. The NPA in Palawan has not released a statement concerning the attack.
Pamela Miguel, Citinickel spokesperson, said in a radio interview Monday morning that they did not receive any demand from the NPA before the attack.
“I am not aware of any demand, not in my level,” she said in Filipino. Miguel added that the trucks were owned by a trucking contractor of Citinickel, Cherry Construction Inc.
Citinickel was recently a subject of a complaint raised by indigenous communities in Espanola about the company’s failure to release their royalty share from the mining operations’ profit as required by the Philippine Mining Code.
“Ang kabuuan hindi pa nairerelease (the entire amount has yet to be released) but we have made partial releases for scholarships that they asked. That was coming from their royalty funds,” Miguel said.
Citinickel is majority-owned by Caroline Tanchay’s Oriental Peninsula Resources Group that controls several large blocks of mining claims in the nickel-rich southern Palawan towns of Sofronio Espanola and Narra.
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