Communist rebels target mining firms
MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels warned Thursday that they will mount attacks against mining operations, accusing foreign companies of leading the “plunder” of the country’s natural resources.
Rebel forces have “standing orders to carry out all necessary action and assistance to the people in preventing foreign big mining companies and their local big comprador and bureaucrat collaborators from carrying out the all-out plunder of our natural resources,” said their spokesman Gregorio Rosal.
He said the 7,000-member New People’s Army (NPA) would carry out “revolutionary action, people’s protests and other means to stop the plunder of the Philippine environment and natural wealth.”
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a decades-old Maoist armed campaign.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has aggressively promoted the country’s underdeveloped minerals sector as a key development path out of poverty for the nearly 40 percent of Filipinos who live on two dollars a day or less.
A mining law that took effect two years ago after prolonged legal challenges opened up the sector to foreign investment.
Last month Arroyo also put the mining sector under the direct supervision of Malacañang.