By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Chadli Molinta Command (CMC) and Jennifer Carino Command (JCC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) claimed responsibility over the attacks on facilities with in the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company in Mankayan, Benguet on the late evening of June 7 and early dawn of June 8.
In a joint statement sent to the media, the NPA commands said the attacks were part of their continuing campaign to punish destructive and large scale mines like Lepanto and government troops for securing mining companies at the expense of the people.
The CMC operates with in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions while the JCC operates in Benguet.
Earlier the Mankayan town police said that the gates of the LCMC Tailings Dam were attacked by armed men at 10:36 PM, followed by a 10:46 PM. attack on a chemical and mineral laboratory in Colalo village.
Residents heard gunfire ring out after midnight, followed by blasts near the mine site, said Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian, who was told about a firefight near a police substation in Colalo.
At 4:00 AM, the police discovered that the armed men detonated explosives to destroy a police outpost, a backhoe, and a machine used to process copper.
Police said two explosive devices attached to two dumptrucks were not set off.
According to the NPA, Lepanto land grabbed tens of hectares of ricefields in 1990 between Cabiten and Colalo villages where it built its tailings dam 5A despite the people’s protest.
It can be recalled that in April 25, 2013 the NPA burned Lepanto’s drilling machine in Colalo village. At the time, Lepanto was planning to build tailing 5B.
The NPA said they attacked soldiers under the 81st IB of the Philippine Army stationed near tailings dam 5A. They claimed that the said government troops were used to violently quell people’s opposition against the raising of the tailing dam’s embankment.
Aside from the attack at the tailings dam area, the NPA also destroyed the carbon-in-pulp (CIP) cyanide processing plant owned by Colalo Barangay Captain Ambino Padawi. They also burned a backhoe and other equipment in the said plant. They also exploded the Communtiy Police Action Center (Compac) beside the CIP.
The NPA accused Padawi of taking away the ancestral land of a clan and built the CIP on it despite the people’s protests. #nordis.net