Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the Toronto Ventures Incorporated Resource Development (TVIRD), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Special CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (SCAA) under the Tabak Division (1st Infantry Division) for carrying out a widespread campaign of crime, terror and abuses against the Subanen minority people and residents of Zamboanga del Sur since late last year.
The terrorist campaign is being carried out by the 1st ID of the AFP and the SCAA in behalf of the TVIRD with the malevolent aim of suppressing the people’s resistance against plans by the Canadian-owned mining company to conduct open-pit mining in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur.
Yesterday, at least a dozen reporters and human rights workers from Pagadian City were taken hostage by SCAA elements for several hours in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore, Bayog town. The team was prevented from proceeding to investigate the reported demolition of houses of local residents in a planned mining area in a blatant attempt by the TVIRD-AFP-SCAA to suppress the truth and hide the abuses from national and international attention.
Since late last year, the 1st ID and the TVIRD-SCAA have committed a spate of abuses against local residents of Sitio Balabag including harassment of residents, destruction of property of small miners and burning down of houses. On November 18, SCAA militiamen destroyed the hydraulic equipment worth P100,000 owned by Mr. Wendel Bation. On November 24, SCAA forces forcibly entered the house of Mr. Tonio Lastimoso and harassed and terrorized its residents. On November 30, SCAA personnel burned down six houses of Subanen residents including Carmila and Nelson Condol whose 2-month old child later died after being exposed to the elements. On December 1, SCAA personnel forcibly entered the plant owned by Mr. Jolito Munding in an effort to harass him into giving up his operations in the area.
Another batch of 220 SCAA personnel in full battle gear was deployed in Sitio Balabag last January 15, transforming the mining area into a veritable war zone. These militiamen were trained by the 1st ID’s 5th IB in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur and are tasked to clear the area of its residents to pave the way for the operation of TVIRD.
The militarization and harassment operations of the TVIRD-SCAA has caused disruption of classes at the Balabag Primary School and trauma among its small schoolchildren. Armed men belonging to the SCAA have fenced off the school grounds, resulting in the cancellation of classes. The school is run and funded by the Monte de Oro Small Scale Miners Association to provide education for local children.
The CPP and all revolutionary forces support the demand for the immediate withdrawal of all TVIRD-SCAA personnel in the area and in the entire region. The CPP supports the clamor of the people to put a stop to the planned mining operations and open-pit mine of TVIRD in the area.
The CPP condemns the Aquino regime for allowing the TVIRD to employ the AFP and the SCAA as its private army to suppress the people’s resistance against the mining operations and drive them away from their own land. The CPP condemns the Aquino regime for continuing the campaign to invite foreign investments in mining operations that plunder Philippine national patrimony and cause grave and widespread destruction of the environment.
The CPP supports the struggle of the Subanen minority people to defend their ancestral land and their struggle to defend the environment and their livelihood against the incursion of TVIRD and other mining companies.
The CPP calls on militiamen on the payroll of the TVIRD, who have been recruited mostly from among the poor peasants, to surrender their weapons and cooperate with the revolutionary forces.
The CPP calls on all units of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area to continue carrying out tactical offensives in support of the people’s struggles against the TVIRD, to disarm its private army and punish the AFP and the SCAA personnel who have carried out a war of crime, terror and suppression against the people.