Naujan, Oriental Mindoro―Fifty fully armed communist guerrillas belonging to the New People’s Army Lucio de Guzman Command overran the hydro power project site of the Sta. Clara Power Corp. before sundown Monday in the mountainous area of Malvar village in this municipality.
The raid on the 3,000-hectare plant of the SCPC was a “punitive action against the Sta. Clara Power Corp.” and meant to send a “clear message to all destructive mining and energy corporations: the NPA does not allow plunder and environmental destruction in the island of Mindoro,” said Ka Madaay Gasic, the Mindoro NPA command spokesman.
The raid was carried out before the 50th founding anniversary of the NPA on March 29, the statement said.
The NPA also said “the punitive action against SCPC was carried out amid the Duterte administration’s fake news regarding the decimation of NPA forces in the island of Mindoro.”
The rebels entered the SCPC power plant compound at 3 p.m. Monday without a firefight with security personnel.
They torched the batching plant and burned 44 pieces of heavy equipment vital to the operation, including a backhoe, five trucks, two payloaders, a crusher and a cement mixer. Also seized were a 9-mm. pistol, one factory-made shotgun, eight ICOM radios and three laptop computers
The communists also gathered all SCPC workers and educated them on the motive of the NPA offensive as the “offensive is the NPA’s concrete response to the Mindoreños’ cry for justice over the unparalleled damage caused by SCPC’s multi-million-peso hydroelectric power project in Naujan and Baco,” two adjoining towns Oriental Mindoro affected by the operation of SCPC.
The SCPC hydro-electric power plant sits on a 3,000-hectare mountainous area above the Catuiran River in Malvar village, this municipality, with a a total cost of P1.9 billion. It involves the construction of an eight-megawatt hydro-electric power plant, a three-kilometer underground tunnel, an eight-kilometer access road, a power house, a weir and a surge shaft.
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso L. Umali reacted to the raid by saying he would “not tolerate such kind of counter-productive action by the NPA.”
He said his office was also awaiting the official reports from the 203nd Infantry Brigade and the Philippine National Police in Oriental Mindoro.
“We reiterate that the revolutionary movement is not against all renewable energy projects, only those that violate human rights, endanger the people’s livelihood and wreak havoc on the environment like the SCPC hydro project,” NPA Spokesman Ka Madaay Gasic said in a statement after the raid. With Francisco Tuyay