By DANREB BRINGGAS
Spokesperson, Procopio Tauro Front Operations Command
NPA North Abra
“This is a continuity of a series of punitive attacks against the 41st Infantry Battalion, due to continuing human rights violations, and will also serve as a warning to Golden Lake and to Lacub local government unit officials who are hellbent in imposing the operation of large-scale mining.”
This is the stern pronouncement of Danreb Bringgas, spokesperson of Procopio Tauro Front – NPA North Abra regarding harassment operations conducted on 15 December 2013 against the Bantugo Detachment of Charlie Company, 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Poblacion, Lacub, Abra. The attack by a team from the PTF started at 6:00 am.
According to the spokesperson, the 41st Infantry Battalion has long been serving as Security Force of large-scale mining interests. They are also being used to pressure and terrorize the masses who are opposing the entry of large-scale mining, such as what happened during the bogus FPIC (“Free” and Prior “Informed Consent”) Process last May 2012 in Lacub, Abra.
Aside from this, the 41st Infantry Battalion continuously violates the rules of war as mandated by the International Humanitarian Law against using civilians as human shields, in the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) stating clearly that military units should not encamp in populated areas, and in the IPRA (Indigenous People’s Rights Act) that prohibits encampment and military operations in ancestral lands without prior consent of the indigenous peoples. These were further strengthened by a UNICEF declaration banning military camps in the vicinity of schools, such as in Bantugo, Poblacion, Lacub.
Bringas also warned local government unit officials who are persistently imposing the operations of Golden Lake Mineral Resources. Bringas condemned the deceit of these officials claiming that exploration is not mining and further promising projects to be given by the mining company, when these projects should have been delivered by the national and local governments, if only bureaucrat capitalism is not so entrenched.
“The Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – Cordillera People’s Democratic Front consistently stand in opposition to destructive projects such as large-scale mining, dams and illegal logging, that benefit only a few. Based on the collective experiences of corporate mining communities, it is only the companies who really benefit and get rich, while the people continue to suffer, especially after the destruction of land, water and other resources. No amount of money and so-called projects, roads and alleged employment can replace the destruction of communities,” explained the spokesperson.
Ending his message, Bringgas emphatically warned Golden Lake/Magdaleno Pena Mining Company, “Just try to bring your equipments, and surely you will feel the people’s protests and the punitive actions by the NPA.”