Esperanza AgSur Raid, Victory Against Foreign Landgrabbing

Omar Ibarra
NPA Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command
June 19, 2013

The New People’s Army under the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command successfully raided the compound of Shannalyne Plantation Company yesterday, June 18, at around 9:00 AM in Km. 8, Brgy. Hawilian, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

Nine equipment, including five bulldozers and four loader trucks were paralyzed by the Red fighters. The NPA also seized six assorted firearms (two shotguns, an Ingram machine pistol, a .45 pistol and two .357 revolvers) from the armed guards of the company. Five of the guards were killed when they resisted the NPA strike force.

According to the comrades in the field, the five who were killed were Felipe “Ihag” Hadraki, Remi Polintan, “Mankurenti,” “Boklet,” and “Junior,” all of whom were members of ex-mayor Deo Manpatilan’s paramilitary group, the Wild Dogs. This group is most active in counterrevolutionary witch-hunting and in terrorizing the peasants in the area. They are not civilians. In fact, they are strongly detested by the people and the revolutionary movement.

The Shannalyne Company serves as the most aggressive broker for foreign investments entering in the area for mining, expansion of oil palm and other plantations, and other pro-capitalist, anti-people and environmentally-destructive activities. This, together with Caraga Forest, Goldenbell, Tansland and Tecland, make up the Shannalyne Group of Companies, which operates in an area of 188,802 hectares of forestland in the municipalities of Esperanza, San Luis, Talacogon, La Paz and Loreto in the province of Agusan del Sur.

Shannalyne has already embarked on its clearing activity on the 500 hectares forest in Esperanza. Because they were already issued Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) by the DENR, the development of their plantations, funded by foreign capital from New Zealand and Finland, can now proceed full scale. Under such arrangement, the felling of trees by the company becomes lawful and therefore, the company can never in any way be held accountable for aggravating environmental destruction or should another calamity break out.

Together with the military and Wild Dogs, they terrorize the Lumads and peasants to ensure the divestment of their lands in favor of the capitalists. Amidst the strong opposition of the Lumad citizens affected by this company’s operations, the company can now proceed full scale with the support of the government and military. Dispossessed of their farmlands, the locals find it harder everyday to provide for their daily consumption. Consequently, the land-use conversion typical of these plantations not only threatens food security but is also environmentally-destructive.

In this context, the revolutionary movement launched the attack to punish Shannalyne Corporation and to fulfill the NPA’s task of protecting the people’s interests and the environment. What with the government’s incompetence in dealing with foreign landgrabbing, the people can now only rely on supporting the people’s democratic revolution.#