Rebels torch Lagonoy mining firm's heavy equipment

LAGONOY, Camarines Sur—Pieces of heavy equipment such as a bulldozer, backhoe, heavy duty generators, and an owner type jeep were set on fire allegedly by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Barangay Gimagtocon here yesterday afternoon at a mining site at least 12 kilometers from the town proper.

Photo: Bagong Hukbong Bayan on Facebook
The equipment owned by Bicol Chromite and Manganese, Inc. was estimated to be valued at around Php10 million.

The initial investigation conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) reveals that the rebels imposed the maximum penalty of burning the heavy equipment because the company is allegedly engaged in destructive mining.

Aside from Barangay Himagtocon, which is the center of their mining operations, the residents of Pinamihagan, Del Carmen and Bocogan are also complaining against said mining company.

This morning, Ka Baldrmoro Arcangel, the newly-installed spokesperson of NPA Bicol confirmed that the Tomas Pilapil Command of the the Bagong Hukbong Bayan deliberated upon the complaints against Bicol Chromite and Manganese Inc.

The decision that was reached last June 18, was for the destruction of the heavy equipment.

This, he said, would serve as a stern warning against the said mining company.

The sentence was recommended by the Demokratikong Gobiernong Bayan in Bicol.

Bicol Chromite and Manganese Incorporated is headed by Lydia Co.

It will be recalled that the operation of the said mining firm has been controversial because of the objection registered by the town officials here, headed by Mayor Delfin Pilapil, Jr.

Meanwhile, PNP Officer in Charge Chief Inspector Venerando F. Ramirez said that there is an ongoing investigation regarding the incident.

Early last year, Mayor Pilapil, Jr., called the attention of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau V, headed by Engr. Theodore Rommel Pestaño, to stop the illegal operation of the mining company.

In a letter addressed to Engr. Pestaño, Pilapil emphasized that the operation of the mining firm has elicited numerous complaints from residents.

Relative to the issue, the Sangguniang Bayan of Lagonoy stressed in Resolution No. 042-2013 that there is a need to take crucial measures to further avert illegal activities concerning the natural resources of the town.

A separate resolution was passed by the Barangay Council of Gimagtocon, this town, and the Liga ng mga Barangay, urging the concerned government agencies to act on the complaints.

Said resolutions demand for the complete stoppage of all mining operations in the municipality.

Furnished copies of Pilapil’s letter, including the different resolutions, were President Benigno Aquino III, Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Engr. Leo Jasareno of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna.

The Regional Director of DENR Region V also sent a copy to Gov. Miguel Luis Villafuerte, Vice Governor Fortunato Peña and all the members of the Provincial Board of Camarines Sur.—with Report from Ron-Ron Enon BICOLSTANDARD.COM


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