Army recruits militiamen to protect mining sites in Surigao Norte
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Army has started recruiting at least 150 militiamen to serve as special security detail for the three mining companies in Surigao Del Norte that were attacked by communist rebels last week.
The Army’s arrangement with the mining companies, however, to create at least two new companies of special civilian active auxiliaries (SCAA) has yet to be approved by the military and defense leadership.
“Due to the urgency, the enlistment can start while waiting for the approval (of the agreement),” said Col. Carlito Galvez, operations division chief of the Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for operations (J3).
He said they would form two SCAA companies since the mining companies have accepted the Army’s proposal to put up a special militia for them.
Each company has about 100 men, composed of 88 militiamen and 12 enlisted personnel who supervise the group.
According to Galvez, they have 41 SCAA companies mostly in Mindanao where they secure government owned and controlled companies (GOCCs), power utilities and “prime investment facilities.”
Under the agreement, the Army will organize, train, equip and supervise the special militia team.
The private company, meanwhile, will shoulder the militiamen’s allowances.
The allowances of regular civilian active auxiliaries (CAA) are paid by the military.
The arrangement came after some 200 New People’s Amy members staged coordinated raids of Taganito Mining Corp., its sister company Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. and Platinum Group Metals Corp. last Oct. 3.
The military said the mining companies were attacked before they refused the rebels’ extortion demands.
The Taganito mining companies have already made a request to the Army headquarters to assign a SCAA for their facilities, according to Maj. Eugenio Osias, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
He said before the attack, the 4ID commander, Maj. Gen. Victor Felix, had offered to put up a special militia for the three mining companies but the arrangement did not push through.
Osias said the mining companies’ request would go through the process that would include getting a recommendation from the local government and the concerned military unit.
News handpicked by our editors
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.