MANILA, Philippines – Armed men suspected to be members of the rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) set on fire the equipment of Citinickel Mining Corp. in Palawan in an alleged attempt to impose “revolutionary taxes.”
On Sunday, December 9, Western Defense Command spokesperson Lt. Anne Abrigo told local reporters in Puerto Princesa that they are verifying the alleged extortion attempt, which occurred at around 1 p.m. Sunday in the town of Sofronio Española.
Lt. Col. Efren Rellores, head of the Marine Batallion Landing Team 12 operating in southern Palawan, said the small-scale nickel mining company “mentioned in the statement” that around 6 armed men stopped one of the mining company’s contractors, introduced themselves as members of the NPA, set up a checkpoint, then put the contractor’s backhoe on fire.
Rellores said they are closely monitoring the movement of the NPAs in the area, stressing that the group usually operates in small numbers navigating the towns of Quezon, Rizal and Espanola where various mining firms are located.
There have been various attacks against mining firms operating in Palawan, an island province west of the Philippines.
In June 2011, armed men raided a security detachment of another mining company in Brooke’s Point, as well as attacked the private security guards of a chromite mining operation in Taytay. – Rappler.com