Armed movement still alive, says detained rebel leader

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/07 October) — The daring seven-hour siege of three adjacent large-scale mining firms in Claver town, Surigao del Norte that took place in broad daylight Monday, only showed that the revolutionary movement is not “inconsequential” as government has claimed, a detained peace consultant of the National Democratic Front said.

In an interview Thursday, Wilfredo “Ka Paris” Mapano said the attack last Monday was an effective “show of force” which should make government treat the revolutionary movement with more respect as the latter had “effectively sanctioned companies that not only plundered the Filipino people’s patrimony but exploited and abused its labor force.”

“The triple attack last Monday showed that NDF has the capacity to punish corporations where the Philippine government failed to deliver,” said Mapano.

He also brushed off the allegation that the mining companies’ were attacked for their failure to pay revolutionary tax, citing a popular adage: “Do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

“As you can see from the severity of the damages, the NDF did not attack because of non-payment of revolutionary tax but because it wants these companies to stop destroying what is left of the province’s fragile ecosystem,” he said.

“I believe they gave the Philippine government enough time to deal with the complaints of the residents in Claver and neighboring communities. Thirty years is an awful long time but since the Philippine government has beefed up security for the mining companies instead of listening to the people’s demand, the genuine government of the people stepped in,” said Mapano.

He, however, feared for his safety as well as that of the other detained NDF consultants, saying government might vent their ire on them as the attack had embarrassed the Philippines before the international community.

At the hearing of one of his criminal cases, Mapano claimed a fiscal ribbed him for belonging to the same guerrilla front that waged the triple attack. The prosecution, he said, had revived an old request to the court to transfer him to a more “secure holding facility.”

“They (prosecution) have revived their allegation that I will be rescued by my comrades here at the provincial jail in light of what happened at Claver. The prosecution has requested the court again to transfer me, either to Lumbia City Jail or a military camp,” he said.

Instead of treating the raid in Claver as a mere security and police matter, government should seriously review its environmental protection policy and how the mining companies that the New People’s Army attacked plundered the country’s patrimony, he added. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)