74 guns taken from mayor’s mine firm
DAVAO CITY—The New People’s Army (NPA) on Friday claimed that it seized at least 74 mostly high-powered firearms from a mining compound owned by the family of a Compostela Valley mayor, which a guerrilla spokesperson said proved that the mayor is maintaining a private army.
NPA rebels killed a security guard during the attack on the compound of JB Management Mining Corp. (JBMMC), owned by the family of Monkayo town Mayor Joselito Brillantes.
In a separate, but simultaneous attack on the town, the rebels also killed a militiaman.
In a statement sent by e-mail, Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA’s Comval-North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command, said the sheer number of high-powered firearms that guerrillas hauled following the attack on the compound of JBMMC proved that Brillantes maintains a private armed group to protect his mining interests.
He said among the seized firearms are three M-60 machine guns, seven M-14 rifles, 13 M-16 rifles, nine Garand rifles, three baby Armalites, a carbine, two Bushmaster rifles, an Ultimax light machine gun, an M-16 with M203 grenade launcher, a rocket-propelled grenade, a Galil machine pistol, an AK-200 assault rifle, 11 shotguns, two 9-mm pistols, eight .45-cal. pistols, a .38-cal. pistol and nine KG-9 submachine guns.
At least 14,000 rounds of ammunition were also seized, said the NPA spokesperson.
He said Brillantes’ private armed group was formed with the help of the military.
The mayor’s militiamen, said the NPA, are also involved in human rights violations and labor abuses.
Francisco said several persons had been reported missing after entering the mining compound of Brillantes’ firm and are believed to have been summarily executed by the mayor’s “goons.”
“His workers have not received wages for several months now, and have not been receiving social benefits, medical assistance and other forms of remuneration,” Francisco said.
Brillantes refused to issue any statement. Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao
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