Mining investors will stay in the country despite NPA attacks, Aquino says

October 12, 2011 9:57 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 12 — Foreign investors in the mining industry will not withdraw from the Philippines despite the attack of the New People's Army (NPA) in Surigao del Norte early this month, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

The Chief Executive, who was interviewed by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) in Makati City Wednesday morning, said that he had talked to a group of Japanese investors who made an assurance that they’ll continue to do business in the Philippines despite the attacks.

“I actually met with the officers of the Sumitomo Group who called on me Tuesday and they assured us that they have no intentions of pulling out,” the President told FOCAP.

“But there was that request for beefed up security in their areas of operations, to which we have already advised them of the corrective actions that are being undertaken. So if the victim of this whole issue has not indicated a lack of interest or lessening of interest, then perhaps I don’t foresee any other foreign investors undertaking the same,” he added.

Responding to criticisms about the government plan to train members of the special Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to serve as security for mining industries, the President said their deployment will be strictly monitored by the police and the military to prevent abuses.

“CAFGUs or special CAFGUs will be territorial-based, will be subject to rules and regulations, and will be under the watchful gaze of our Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales. We do not foresee any abuses from them but, rather, they will augment the abilities of our security forces to preserve peace and order in our country,” the President said.

The President noted that it’s unfair for the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to double their efforts in securing the country’s hot spots considering the huge number of Filipino population so there’s a need to augment their number with militiamen.

“We roughly have 250,000 men in uniform, they are guarding close to a hundred million Filipinos,” he said. “That is the exact same number of forces we had in 1986 when he had 50 million Filipinos. So we’re asking the members, our citizens who are in uniform, to do double the work and I think that would be unfair.”

NPA guerrillas staged coordinated raids on Taganito Mining Corp., Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. and Platinum Group Metals Corp. operating in Claver, Surigao del Norte, on October 3, killing three security guards.

The rebels burned 10 dump trucks, eight backhoes, two barges and a guest house, the police and the military said. The rebels also seized several guns from private security guards. (PNA) DCT/scs/PCOO/ssc

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