NPA raids coal mine in Negros Occidental

By Carla Gomez
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 10:36pm (Mla time) 06/09/2008

BACOLOD CITY – The military alleged on Sunday that the New People’s Army raided a coal mine in Calatrava town, Negros Occidental and burned its equipment after its owners allegedly failed to pay revolutionary taxes.

Maj. Nathaniel Villasor, 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations chief, placed at P150,000 the damage to the equipment of a coal mine owned by former board member Fernando Leonor and Melvin Villamero.

Villasor said the raid on the coal mine was done simultaneously with the burning of three Tanduay Distillery Inc. delivery trucks at the Barcelona Port in Barangay Old Poblacion, Escalante City, on June 4.
The rebels, allegedly led by a certain Odot Danoso, took handheld radios and cellular phones of the mineworkers, who were not harmed, the military said.

Calatrava police chief Inspector Danilo Zuniega said on Sunday that the work at the mine site has been suspended.

The mine workers expressed their dismay at being temporarily displaced from work at the time classes were about to open, Zuniega said.
The military also advised the Calatrava police investigators not to proceed to the mining site as the 15th Infantry Battalion soldiers were still pursuing the suspects, Zuniega said.

Police placed the damages on the Tanduay delivery trucks and cargo allegedly burned by suspected rebels at the port of Escalante at P6 million.

Villasor said the series of incidents, including the liquidation of a former civilian volunteer organization and the attack on an Army detachment in Guihulngan, showed desperation on the part of the NPA rebels, after they lost their guerrilla bases in central Negros to the 11th Infantry Battalion.

Senior Supt. Rosendo Franco, provincial police director, urged the community to report the presence of strangers in their place to prevent more atrocities that would be committed by insurgents.

Capt. Lowen Gil Marquez, chief of the AFP Civil Relations Group in Western Visayas, said the incident at the port of Escalante could have been prevented if the liquor firm personnel had informed the military of the extortion letters they have received from the CPP-NPA.

Lt. Gen. Pedro Ike Insierto, AFP Central Command chief, who recently visited the 303rd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town, has ordered the military to pursue the suspects behind the simultaneous raids and destruction of properties in northern Negros.

Meanwhile, CPP spokesperson Gregorio Ka Roger Rosal hailed the NPA for its string of recent victories against government forces.

“With the government forces suffering more losses, the more they try to pursue their military offensives against the revolutionary forces, it is they and not the revolutionary forces who will be significantly weakened by the target end of their current counterinsurgency operational plan Bantay Laya II,” Rosal said in a statement released Sunday by the CPP’s Information Bureau, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer.

Ka Roger said the most recent communist offensive against government forces was a lightning attack Saturday afternoon against a detachment of the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion in south Mindanao’s Compostela Valley.

Rosal said the guerrillas quickly overpowered government militiamen manning the detachment and torched it down before leaving with the paramilitary forces’ 14 M1 Garand rifles.

The CPP spokesman also reported that NPA rebels also attacked another Army detachment in Sallapadan, Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Citing initial reports, Rosal claimed that five government soldiers were wounded in the firefight, including the detachment commander.
“The NPA also burned down the Army detachment after overrunning it,” he said.

With reports from Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

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