New People’s Army
Regional Operations Command
Southern Mindanao Region
May 8, 2017
The ComVal–Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command of the New People’s Army successfully meted out punitive action against Mil-Oro Mining Corp. in Sitio Salingkomot, Brgy. Macambol, Mati City on May 6, 2017. At around 5:00 in the morning, Red fighters seized 2 US carbines, six shotguns, military radios, ammunitions and several gadgets and gutted down mining equipment, including 5 backhoes, four graders and company vehicles.
The open-pit mining company is owned by transnational Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp., whose environmental compliance certificate was revoked last year by environmental advocate and then DENR Secretary Gina Lopez for its environmentally-destructive operations. It has been operating since 2015 under the patronage and behest of current Davao Oriental Cong. Corazon Malanyaon. Malayaon, who was the province’s governor at the time, has continuously allowed the incursion of destructive mining companies in protected areas in the province.
Mil-Oro’s nickel ore-mining operations straddle almost 5,000 hectares of the protected areas of Pujada Bay and Mt. Hamiguitan range, declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 2014. For almost three years now, masses in the surrounding barangays, especially poor fisherfolk whose livelihood depend on the area’s rich marine biodiversity, have been complaining against the mining operation of Mil-Oro. Many Lumad and peasant families have also been displaced to make way for the expansion of its operation.
For years, the so-called mining industry in Davao Oriental and elsewhere in the region has amassed billions in yearly profit for big compradors and their foreign partners but hardly made any difference to the lives and livelihood of poor peasants, Lumad and workers where mining companies operate. Worse, when their exploration permits expire or get cancelled, like in the case of Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp. which owns Mil-Oro, these companies skirt reactionary laws by simply using dummy corporations to continue their extensively extractive mining practices and further destroy the environment.
The latest punitive action continues the NPA’s duty in protecting the country’s natural resources and an exercise of the political authority of the People’s Democratic Government. Furthermore, it is a stern warning against large scale and foreign mining companies that not only exploit our non-renewable resources but also victimize our people in the name of superprofit.
RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ
Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army