Pantukan blast hurts 7 soldiers

Sep. 03, 2013


Davao City— Two days after the Philippine government called for an end to violence and a militant lawmaker urged for the resumption of peace negotiations with communist rebels, seven government troops were hurt by explosives purportedly detonated by the New People’s Army at dawn Tuesday in Pantukan town, Compostela Valley.

The blasts came in the wake of what the National Democratic Front earlier said mining-related “offensive military operations.”

A statement from the Lt. Ernest D. Carolina, 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the soldiers belonged to the “peace and development team of the 104th Division Recon Company under the supervision of the 28th Infantry Battalion” who were conducting security patrol in Sitio Lantawan, Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan.

Carolina said the seven are now confined in the city’s Eastern Mindanao Command Hospital.  “Their names are still being withheld prior to informing their families,” he explained.

In time for the 10th National Peace Consciousness Month last September 1, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate called for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The negotiations were stalled since June 2011.

Earlier, Rubi del Mundo, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front Southern Mindanao said the military has intensified its operations, with the 28th IB augmented by another company-sized soldiers because of large scale mining.

Del Mundo said the “1001st Brigade-10th Infantry Division has stepped up its offensive military operations in Pantukan, Maco and Mabini towns, affecting peasant and mining communities to pave the way for the resumption of large-scale gold mining operations of American owned Russel Mining and the NADECOR (Nationwide Development Corporation).”

Nadecor is said to start developing the King-king Copper and Gold Mine in Pantukan by 2014 after St. Augustine Gold & Copper Limited invested $43.5 million (or P1.9 billion) last June. Pantukan gold and copper deposits are said to be among the worlds’ largest.

NDF’s Del Mundo added that “As more and more troops abuse communities and occupy civilian facilities to ensure the entry of big mining operations, more and more fascist troops would become targets of NPA’s punitive actions. The People’s Democratic Government will continue to impose its revolutionary policies on environmental protection and in defense of affected masses. It considers as enemies big foreign mining operators in cahoots with Filipino partners.”

Last August 24, the NPA unit in these areas released its Prisoner of War Private First Class Rodello Canada Arigonan, of the 1001st Brigade in Barangay Panangan, Maco town, Comval.

Lt. Col. Francisco Lorenzo, commander of the 28th IB, blamed the NPA for the recent Pantukan blast saying it “is a gross violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) Part 3, Article 2, Paragraph 15, which totally bans the use of landmines.”

“Their insistence to use these deadly landmines against those who help bring about development in the community only further establishes how they are apt to disturb peace and hinder development,” Lorenzo added.

NDF Human Rights Committee Chair Fidel Agcaoili said the NPA adheres to international laws that prohibit landmines in their attacks against the military.

“Although not signatories to the Ottawa Treaty or any deed of commitment, the NPA and the NDFP have repeatedly declared that the NPA does not use and has never used mines which are not command-detonated and directed against military vehicles and personnel. Command-detonated mines are not prohibited by any international treaty or convention, including the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols. Such mines are directed at purely military targets,” Agcaoili said. (

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