Military: NPA violates IHL, burns backhoes in Caraga

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/09:30:05am 07/23/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 19, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) is believed to be behind the burning of heavy equipment used by a mining company in Sitio Kinalablaban, Barangay Cagdianao, Claver town in Surigao del Norte recently, the military said.

In a press statement given to reporters by the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), NPA fighters allegedly burned six backhoes owned by general contractors of the Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC), a mining company based in Makati City but with operations in Claver.

Four of the heavy equipment belonged to CKDI Construction while the two were owned by Queens Construction.

The 4ID said the attackers were said to be members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 16’s SYP16C1 operating in the Northeastern Mindanao region under the command of Roel Neniell, also known as “Jacob.”

In the same statement, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., 4ID commander, said the recent attack on civilian properties, is “part of a grand plan to divert the government forces’ attention and disrupt the security operation against their armed group.”

“The CNTs are on the run. They conduct atrocities whenever they are trapped hoping to ease up pressure from our troops that are relentlessly pursuing them,” Brawner said.

The military refers to the Communist guerrillas as CNTs or Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army Terrorists.

Brawner stressed that the burning of said equipment will affect families as it is their source of livelihood.

“This is obviously an anti-people act of the CNTs and will leave many people jobless. It is a blatant violation as civilian property cannot be a target of attack as stipulated under International Humanitarian law. We are once again saddened by this unnecessary destruction of equipment by the NPAs who for the longest time sabotage and disrupt the peace and development efforts of the government,” Brawner said.

“This is utter disregard and disrespect of IHL. This must be stopped. I urge the CPP-NPA to leave the people alone! They already suffer from all the terror you inflict upon them. Hence, we your Army, commit in bringing forth the perpetrators to justice as we continue to run after them and relentlessly pursue them,” he added.

On its social media account, the PGMC said it operates the Cagdianao Nickel Expansion Project mine with an area of 4,376 hectares.

“We have seven known lateritic nickel deposit sites referred to as Cagdianao Areas (CAGA). Mining season is from March [through] October. Our maximum allowable nickel ore production per year is 7.69 million wet metric tons,” the company said.

In 2016, PGMC said, it received ISO 14001:2015 certification for its Environmental Management System.

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