‘Armed natives’ kill 3 workers in SCotabato ambush – military

Published by rudy Date posted on March 26, 2011

Three workers from a construction firm in South Cotabato were killed Friday in an ambush by “armed natives”, the military said in a belated report on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, identified two of the fatalities as Osia Pizana, a company driver, and Romel Vega, a helper, both employed by LVE Construction.

The identity of the third fatality was not immediately available as of posting time.

An initial investigation showed the three were part of a five-dump truck convoy of LVE Construction traveling on a road in Tampakan town.

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The construction firm is owned by Tampakan mayor Leonardo Escobillo, Paniza added.

The 10th ID spokesman said the ambush site was “within the exploration area” of the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

Paniza also clarified that the attackers were “armed natives” and not members of the New People’s Army.

It was not clear from the report whether the attack on the LVE Construction convoy was related to the continuing protests by anti-mining advocates and indigenous communities against SMI operations in the area.

The South Cotabato government earlier imposed a ban on open-pit mining in the province, which directly affected the SMI plan to open a copper-gold project in the area by 2012. (See: Firm optimistic as mining ban review starts in SCotabato)—MDM/JV, GMA News

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