Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fermin Mabulo belies massacre; 'illegal miners nagkabarilan'

CAMARINES SUR—Fermin Mabulo, who identifies himself as the Provincial Administrator of Camarines Sur in his Facebook account, blames family rivalries to have triggered the cold-blooded murder of four gold panners in Barangay Gata, Caramoan exactly a week ago.

Fermin Mabulo's Facebook post on the Caramoan massacre
Fermin Mabulo's Facebook post on the Caramoan massacre
In radio interviews, he claims to be the head of Task Force Sagip Kalikasan, a special organization under the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur that is duty-bound to implement laws on environmental protection.

As clarification of the incident, he posted on Facebook the following message the other day:

“On Gata Incident: Were still conducting a thorough investigation. Lumalabas na nag away away mga illegal miners nagkabarilan. Now they are blaming it on our SKTF enforcers para umalis doon mga SKTF at makabwelo mga illegal mining operators and illegal fishing operators. Sad, I feel for the victims. Especially yung enforcers na inuusig nila. Good thing my team leader Mr Francis Tria was released early this morning. Indeed, the truth will set you free.

This [referring to photos he uploaded] is part of the coastline and mountains of Brgy Gata, Caramoan. See for yourselves the damage done to our environment by illegal mining condoned by their brgy captain over the years.”

He further said: “Gov. Migz ordered SKTF enforcers to stop them since December last year thats why Brgy Captain Mercy Sueno hated the SKTF so much she wanted them to leave so that illegal mining can go on.”

Later, however, he edited parts of his post. Apart from sections of the previous paragraphs, he added: “Bitter rivalry among clans involved in illegal mining has been going on for years but it has escaped public attention due to its remote location.”

In the comments section, Mabulo also declared: “That's is the role of SKTF to protect environment and human lives. We will not tolerate the offenders.”

Meanwhile, residents belie Mabulo’s version of the story.

In interviews by the media, they maintain that Task Force Sagip Kalikasan has been conducting its own mining operations in Gata.

According to the residents, the presence of heavy equipment such as a backhoe and at least seven bowl mills allegedly owned by the Task Force Sagip Kalikasan group proves that they are not there to implement the law, but to engage in the gold business.

Caramoan Massacre: Backhoe allegedly owned by members of Task Force Sagip Kalikasan, according to locals
Photo by Oscar Esmenda/Bicol Standard
Caramoan Massacre: Mining equipment owned by members of Task Force Sagip Kalikasan, according to locals
Photo by Oscar Esmenda/Bicol Standard
Meanwhile, authorities are still conducting a deeper investigation into the alleged involvement of other provincial government officials who are in cahoots with the said Task Force’s supposed illegal operation.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM Bicol Standard on Twitter
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