By ROGER M. BALANZA
A Davao City business leader has expressed concern attacks by communist rebels on business would have grave repercussions on over-all business climate in the Davao Region.
Lawyer Bienvenido Cariaga, former president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said fear factor would hold business expansions or drive away new investments.
New People’s Army rebels last week raided the compound of the Crew Mineral Corporation, formerly Apex Mining, in Masara, Maco, Compostela Valley, burned P100 million worth of equipment and fled with 5 M16 Armalite rifles taken from company security personnel.
The raid followed similar attacks on banana plantations in the province, a major exporter of Cavendish bananas; and the burning of telecommunication towers. Compostela Valley shares boundaries with Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte, where ten NPA fronts operate.
There is fear in the heart of business. This could drive away new investors or cut production with expansion stopped, said Cariaga. He said however fear factor would not shake down business confidence on Davao City, where he is based. Last month, NPA rebels shot dead in downtown Davao City a businessman rebels accused of allowing military troopers to set up camp in his farm in Catigan, Toril, about 70 kms from downtown. The NPA would later apologize for the killing saying Vicente Ferrazini did not deserve the death penalty carried out by a low-level rebel unit.
Cariaga said Toril, home to a 100-hectare property being developed as a high-end tourism estate, remains peaceful despite the Ferrazini killing.
The NPA has claimed responsibility for the attack and warned more would be carried out against mining firms in the region.
“The swift attack launched by the 3rd Pulang Bagani Company of the Merardo Arce Command-NPA against the Crew Mineral Corporation in Brgy. Masara, Maco, Compostela Valley on March 6, 2008 was a punishment imposed by the revolutionary movement for the Norwegian mining firm’s serious violations of various restrictive and regulatory policies of the People’s Democratic Government that pertain to large-scale mining operations vis-à-vis environmental protection, security and revolutionary taxation,” said rebel spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez.
On the whole, this emphatically shows to all and sundry in the business of large-scale foreign mining operations the revolutionary movement’s vigorous resistance to the puppet Arroyo regime’s policy of all-out exploitation and sell-out of the country’s mineral and other natural resources to foreign big business.
The raid on the mining firm should serve as a fair warning to other exploitative, oppressive and hostile big business entities whose operations are within the extensive reach of the NPA, said Sanchez.