NPA claims staging Cagayan attack to punish mining in area
TUGUEGARAO CITY – The Henry Abraham Command of the New People’s Army has admitted staging the Feb. 16 attack that killed six policemen and injured 11 others at a remote Cagayan town.
The policemen were responding to reports that heavy machinery owned by a contractor of the National Irrigation Administration have been torched when they were ambushed Sta. Margarita village in Baggao town.
In an e-mailed statement on Thursday, Ester Falcon, spokesperson of the New People’s Army-Henry Abraham Command, said the rebels burned the equipment “to punish the Brostan Company for environment and health breaches [committed by] conducting gold mining operations in the area.”
NIA has disputed this claim. Billy Tuazon, NIA Cagayan irrigation manager, said Brostan won the government contracts to build a diversion tunnel and a transbasin tunnel for the agency.
The Henry Abraham Command is now the subject of pursuit operations, due to the 5-hour clash that killed PO1 Ryan Annang, PO1 Derrel Sunico, PO1 Rogelio Alfonso, PO1 Julius Soriano, P01 Jaypy Aspiros and PO1 Arjay Bautista.
The rebels said it helped “protect and conserve the environment” by burning two backhoes, two bulldozers, a dump truck and a pay loader in Sitio Ngarutngot in Sta. Margarita village.
Brostan is a family-owned corporation led by Santiago City Mayor Joseph Tan, former Vice Mayor Armando Tan, and traders Danilo and Washington Tan. The Tans could not be reached for comment.
Falcon also claimed that that the company’s tunneling activities threatened to divert the Paranan and Tabegan rivers, which could affect 12 barangays in the towns of Baggao and Gattaran. CDG