Irrigation projects in Paquibato areas claimed by mining companies
a ploy to deceive residents; NPA drives out NIA personnel*
1st Pulang Bagani Company
Merardo Arce Command,
April 7, 2011
An eight-person National Irrigation Administration (NIA) team conducting 'pulong-pulong' in Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District was accosted by the 1st PBC-NPA and ordered to turn back, March 21. The NIA "consultation" was purportedly to "inform" the people of an irrigation project to be implemented in the area. The NIA team led by Engr. Salome Layasan presented documents which vaguely explained the intent and purpose of the supposed irrigation project.
The NPA confiscated the NIA team's service vehicle, two camera phones, maps, NIA petition forms, NIA membership agreement and identification cards. The revolutionary masses have kept in custody the confiscated properties until NIA can present the necessary documents explaining fully the project.
Circumstances surrounding the NIA interest to implement the said project in the following particular areas make the whole 'irrigation' idea questionable:
1. The location of the NIA project is within the mining claim and exploration area of Alberto Mining Corporation which covers 8,391.7642 hectares in Barangays Mapula, Lumiad and Salapawan;
2. Aside from the Mapula Communal Irrigation Project, NIA has another project in Sitio KTC, Barangay Malabog and Sitio Labo, Barangay Tapak which is also within the area claimed by PENSON and Superfield Mining Corporation;
3. The NIA projects will turn out to be useless for the Paquibato community since target areas have minimal Potential Irrigable Areas. Target areas have mountainous and hilly terrain and extensively covered with limestone deposits;
4. The NIA hype about a 'free' irrigation project for the people is false advertising and highly deceptive since beneficiaries were required to sign a membership agreement and petition letter which upon closer scrutiny reveal that signatories were bound to NIA terms and conditions and obliged to pay for the irrigation facilities through time.
The revolutionary masses in Davao have vigorously opposed the encroachment of mining companies in Paquibato District, more so in the light of the entry of Alberto Mining Corporation aggressively pushed by ATADI led by the tribal dealer, Ruben Labawan and coopted tribal councils and barangay captains who were beneficiaries of a 150,000-peso payola/pabaon in exchange for their endorsement of mining operations.
The people want genuine agrarian reform and not fraudulent irrigation projects and destructive mining operations. The masses have long suffered with landlessness alongside massive militarization now deceptively packaged as Oplan Bayanihan under the US-Aquino regime. The blabber about "peace and development" troops being deployed to win the "peace" is a euphemism for the 10th ID-AFP's role as an investment defense force in Southern Mindanao and armed instrument to suppress the people for foreign and local capitalists and mining interests bent on plundering our national patrimony.