No basis for NPA to hold surveyors
Pretending to be concerned with the environment, New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted a group of four surveyors and their driver in New Leyte, Compostela Valley, last May 30. Commissioned by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the surveyors were from a survey outfit in Manila.
Specifically, the NPA claimed the five men were not there to conduct legitimate aerial survey and mapping for government reforestation but to prepare the ground for intensified imperialist mining plunder and conduct counterrevolutionary intelligence in Southern Mindanao, which are among the issues the NPA’s so-called democratic struggle is fighting against. The NPA accused the group of protecting big foreign mining operations, and thus are guilty of environmental plunder, aside from spying on NPA activities.
There is no overemphasizing the importance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ reforestation program. Our country is visited by typhoons and many forests have been denuded by illegal loggers. And one very active illegal logger is the NPA, which sources funds for its operations and sustenance from criminal activities such as illegal logging.
The communist rebels must have realized that they made a mistake. The men they arrested are ordinary engineers and employees who probably have no political affiliations whatsoever. The group was later freed, but the abduction was a traumatic experience for the team. For quite some time, in the longest seconds perhaps they had ever gone through, they were scared for their lives, not knowing what was going to happen to them in the hands of the NPA.
—TIMOTEO S. GERVASIO,
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