By Ka TIPON GIL-AYAB
Lejo Cawilan Command, NPA-Kalinga
At 9 o’clock in the morning of 30 November, an encounter ensued in Inumbog, Bagtayan, Pasil (in Kalinga province, northern Philippines) between two platoon-sized columns of the anti-people Philippine Army from the 21st Infantry Battalion and an undersized platoon of the New People’s Army. Instantly killed were two fascist soldiers. Immediately after, the NPA retreated to a safe place without any casualty. In the afternoon of the same day, two helicopters dropped bombs indiscriminately in the forest areas between Inumbog, Bagtayan, Pasil and Gaang, Talalang, Balbalan.
Inumbog and Gaang are just two of the five small-scale mining areas of the Guinaang and Banao tribes in that mountainous vicinity. Fearing that the fascist soldiers might avenge and commit again human rights violations against the small-scale miners who are daily workers in the Inumbog area, civilians from Barangay (village) Bagtayan went immediately to Inumbog in order to tell the reactionary army not to do any harm to their tribemates. But latest reports indicate that about 20 small-scale miners were rounded-up and harassed by the 21st IB.
Actually, the two platoon-sized columns from the 21st IB were on patrol as part of their “Peace and Development Team” (PDT) operations under OPlan Bayanihan of the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the present anti-Filipino US-Aquino Regime. In reality, the 501st Infantry Brigade and the 21st IB do serve as “Investment Defense Force” for the safe entry of foreign capitalist large-scale mines, hydropower dams and geothermal energy projects that virtually land grab the ancestral lands, deny and destroy the national minorities’ livelihood and resources.
Pasil is just one of the municipalities of Kalinga, enclosed by the Exploration Permit Applications of four foreign mining companies, namely: Asia Pacific Basin Mining Corp., Philippine Mining Development Corp., Facets Minerals, Inc. and Makilala Mining Corp. Note that Asia Pacific Basin Mining Corp. not only covers the other municipalities of Kalinga but also two municipalities of Abra, namely, Boliney and Daguiman. Boliney is also encased by Makilala Mining Corp.
Another application by Mount Franz Mining Corp. (owned by Lepanto) for Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) also covers Pasil, five other municipalities of Kalinga (Balbalan, Lubuagan, Tinglayan, Tanudan and Tabuk), and two municipalities of Mountain Province (Sadanga and Bontoc).
The municipality of Pasil is also affected greatly by the Chevron Geothermal Philippines and its two subsidiaries, the Aragorn Energy and Power Corporation (APEC) and Guidance Management Corporation (GMC). Chevron shall be constructing a 100-megawatt geothermal power plant. This project will cost $300 million (about P13 billion). It covers 17,580 hectares of the ancestral lands of the tribes of Culayo, Balatoc, Guinaang, Dangtalan and Ableg in Pasil; the Uma tribe in Lubuagan; and the tribes of Tongrayan, Dananao, Sumadel, Tulgao and Bangad in Tinglayan.