PGD surprised by NPA charges against him

“The allegations being made against me are all the more disconcerting since I resigned from SMI as president on April 1, 2007 when Xstrata exercised its option to acquire a majority stake of SMI and took over the management of the company.
 
“For the record, the accusations being made against me are totally unfounded and without basis in truth and in fact,” he said in a two-page statement.

Dominguez served as SMI president from February 2005 to April 1, 2007.

In a statement on March 28, the Valentin Palamine Command-Far South Mindanao Region of the New People’s Army said it has identified several individuals “whose cases have already been docketed with the peoples’ revolutionary court.”

“On top of the list is Paul Dominguez, erstwhile manager of SMI whose connivance and collusion with the foreign multinational companies have facilitated the entry of large scale mining not only in South Central Mindanao but also in the Bicol region and in other parts of the country. Together with Alcantara, (his father-in-law) Dominguez has been an aggressive promoter of  ‘development aggression’ resulting to the loss of ancestral lumad lands, the plunder of our natural resources through largescale mining and logging and the corollary marginalization of the lumad and peasantry. He has also facilitated the expansion of Dole Philippines in South Cotabato and Sarangani Province and dispossessed thousands of lumad and poor settlers of their lands and livelihood.”

Dominguez’ father in law died 25 years ago.

Dominguez denied he caused the militarization of Tampakan or that the exploration activities dispossessed communities of their land and livelihood.

“On the contrary, the investments being made by SMI have created opportunities for the Tampakan residents and have the full support of all the Lumad tribal councils, the barangay councils and the municipalities presently involved with the project. These facts are easily verifiable,” he said.
 
The principal focus of his management team during his tenure as SMI President was “to undertake social development and environmental programs to precisely ensure that the host communities would be the first to benefit from the investments being undertaken in Tampakan. These programs were well received by the community and enabled the company to carry out its exploration activities without any major security-related incidents.”
 
Dominguez said several of the community-based programs received awards and accolades from both local and foreign entities. “The Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) honored SMI as the recipient of its highest award – the Presidential Mining Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) in December, 2006 in recognition of the company’s programs and projects for environmental protection and development of the host and neighboring communities.  PMSEA also honored the company with a Special Award for the Best Mining Forest Program.”
 
During his watch, SMI-initiated community development activities in education, capacity building and health, “with special focus on the indigenous communities in whose lands the mine may eventually operate.”

“As a result of these education initiatives, over 8000 school children in Tampakan, Colombio and Kiblawan continue to receive scholarship grants and financial assistance. In addition, several of these innovative development programs were recognized as model projects by our national officials as well as  visiting international dignitaries,” he said.
 
Dominguez cited a visit to Tampakan by Tanzanian Mining Minister Lau Masha in 2006.

Masha, he said, lauded the program and told them he would encourage mining investors in Tanzania to “learn from Tampakan” by pushing for SMI’s best practices in Tanzania’s mining projects.

“Among the innovative programs that Minister Masha wanted to replicate in Tanzania was the SMI Competence Center which undertakes skills development and adult literacy programs for the host communities to enable them to be the first to be gainfully employed by the project. This unique program was given the National Kabalikat Award for Industry by Tesda in 2007,” he said.
 
“During my tenure, SMI also encouraged the three municipalities presently involved in the project to form an alliance to accelerate growth and development and jointly address whatever issues that may emerge in the course of development of the mining project. This initiative referred to as the KITACO Growth Area ensures that all sectors within the three municipalities of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio which are in three separate provinces are consulted at all times thus assuring full project transparency,” he said.
         
“Over the last four decades, I have been involved in both government and private sector initiatives to bring about peace and development in Mindanao. My term as presidential assistant for Mindanao during the Ramos administration was characterized by significant economic growth and infrastructure development in the island as well as more cooperation with our neighbors in ASEAN,” Dominguez said.

 “Today, I continue to be involved in several private sector and civic organizations whose objectives are to promote peace and development, poverty alleviation and sustainable development particularly in Mindanao. I remain steadfast in my commitment to help accelerate the development of Mindanao,” he said.

The Valentin Palomine Command announced it would “continue direct punitive measures on Xstrata-SMI “for as long as they continue to operate on our territories.”

“And, in abeyance to the people's court processes and rulings, we may be forced to take the necessary steps on certain incorrigible individuals who have been duly warned but whose crimes continue to inflict irreversible damage on our people, our land, and our waters,” it said.

Aside from Dominguez, the NPA also listed Landy Doria, SMI's current operations manager, Butch Barroso, Nardo Escobillo and Bebe Escobillo “who are behind the continuing brutalities in the mining areas — all in the service of the mining firm.”

The NPA statement also listed Mayor James Caminero of  Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, “whose cattle rustlers cum ‘Defenders’ have not only facilitated the company's entry but robbed the people as well.”

“Last on the list is Dut Cafeon whose bandits carried out the infamous Bong Mal  killings in 2006 which victimized four Red fighters of the NPA,” the statement read. (MindaNews)

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