Despite GPH ceasefire declaration, military operations continue in the mining areas of XStrata-SMI

27 December 2011

Contrary to the GPH pronouncement of a ceasefire from December 16 – January 2, government troops of the 27th IB, CAFGUs and the Task Force Kitaco continue to mount a relentless military operation in the municipalities of Tampakan, South Cotabato, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. These are the mining areas of the multinational giant Xstrata-SMI which will soon operate a gold and copper open pit mine in the quadriboundaries of FarSouth Mindanao.

Peasant mass leaders and local community documenters have reported these military operations to have continued from the first week of December 2011 and until the time of this writing in the following hinterland barangays:

a) Sitios Lamgawel and Lam-alis, Brgy Datal Blao and in Brgy Maligaya, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat;
b) Sitio Datal Biao, Brgy Danlag, Tampakan, SouthCotabato
c) Sitio Bong Asbang and Datal Aliong in BongMal, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur;
d) Sitio Lasang, Bolol Lomot, South Cotabato

Some of these military operations are disguised as “peace and development” teams out to distribute token holiday goodies to the IP communities but with the vicious intent of driving away the lumad communities and expedite company activities in preparation for the mining operations. These ground troops are augmented by military detachments under the Task Force Kitaco situated in strategic sitios of the mining site.

In the more remote areas, however, far and away from the media, the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan has shown its true color as an out and out berdugo whose agenda is the continuing marginalization of the lumads in favour of the multinational mining giant, Xstrata-SMI. Its psywar operations and terror tactics has resulted in more misery and suffering for the people -- and an even greater and more urgent reason for the masses to take collective action and fight back.