Mining firms forced to support NPA – MGB
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 April) — Mining firms operating in Southeastern
Mindanao have been giving contributions to the New Peoples Army (NPA) but
claimed they have no choice, a mines bureau official said.
Edilberto Arreza, regional director of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences
Bureau, quoted Edgar Martinez, president of the Mindanao Association for
Mineral Industry, Inc. (MINA) as saying they have no choice but give in so
they could penetrate the areas where they intend to do exploration activities.
Arreza declined to say which firms are giving contributions to the NPA.
Eight mining firms are conducting exploration in the region. These are Hallmark Mining Corp. for the Pujada Nickel Project in Mati, Davao Oriental; Dabawenyo Mining Corp. for copper and gold in Don Salvador, Mati, Davao Oriental; Southern Horizon Mining Corporation for copper and gold in Calapagan, Luzpon, Compostela Valley; Jake Mining Corpo for copper and gold in Maragusan, Compostela Valley; Bunawan Mining Corporation for nickel, copper and chromite in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental; Philco Mining Corporation for copper and gold in Camanlagan, New Bataan, Compostela Velley; Omega Resources Phils. Inc. for copper and gold in Boston, Davao Oriental and Alsons Development Corporation for copper and gold in Mainit, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.
Arreza told a press conference at SM City Monday that the military could not provide enough security in the area that is why the firms are forced to give in to the NPA’s demands.
“The rebels return as soon as the government forces move to another location,” he said.
“Maybe (we’ll fix) coordination. I really don’t think that’s a problem that can’t be solved,” Brig. Gen. Carlos Holganza, chief of the military’s 1001st infantry brigade told MindaNews Monday night when asked about the issue.
Holganza earlier told MindaNews that they are deploying more troops in the area to boost the military’s presence.
Arreza said the mining firms give food such as rice, dried fish, and others to the NPA. . He said that is better than allowing them to extort funds to buy arms. He said the support the firms extend “really depends on the negotiations.” The firms bargain with the rebels on what to give, he said.
Arreza acknowledge this has affected the business climate in the region’s mining industry as exploration activities are hampered.
Arreza also affirmed the military pronouncements that there are rebels who actually work in the mines. But he said the situation is expected to improve as soon as mining firms conclude exploration stage and proceed to actual mining operations.
He said with a confined area, it will make it easier for both the government security forces and the firms own guards to secure their area and resist the NPA.
Holganza said they are doing everything to neutralize the rebel group in the area. Arreza said that after years of failed military action, the government should find more ways to address the problem. “Maybe not armed intervention, there has to be something more like more socio-economic interventions,” he said.
(Walter I. Balane/MindaNews) (Photo: Cover of the Report of a Fact finding team on Mining in the Philippines)