Benguet mayor condemns separate attacks by armed men, appeals for peace talks

MANKAYAN, Benguet — Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian condemned the attack in his municipality by still unidentified armed men Wednesday night and appealed to them for a peaceful talk to resolve whatever concern or problem they may have, instead of destroying private and government properties and injuring innocent people.

“Kung ano man ang kanilang problema sa kumpanya ng Lepanto Consolidated Mining at sa gobyerno ay iniimbitahan ko sila na makipag-usap sila sa akin ng maayos para ako mismo ang magsasabi sa kumpanya at sa gobyerno (whatever their problem is with Lepanto Consolidated Mining and the government, I appeal to them to come and talk to me and I will personally bring their concerns to the company or the government),” Luspian said.

At about past 10 p.m. on June 7, the tailings dam number 5 of Lepanto mines was attacked by still unidentified armed men.

Mayor Luspian said he received the call from Chief Inspector Ronnie Albino, chief of police of Mankayan, reporting that a bombing incident happened at the tailings dam of Lepanto in Cabetin and at the chemical and mineral laboratory owned by a Chinese businessman in Cabatuan, Colalo, Mankayan.

The mayor said he is condemning the actions of the armed group and he stressed that their action to convey a message is not good because they are endangering the life of civilians.

Aside from the tailings dam and mineral laboratory, the newly furnished police outpost 1 located in Culalo was also bombed. Also destroyed in a separate explosion is a backhoe owned by a barangay captain, including the floating machine used in processing copper.

Initial police investigation showed workers of Lepanto Mines relayed seeing seven armed men and a woman perpetrating the attack.

The mayor relayed that the attack led to the injury of one civilian mine employee.

“I received a call from a barangay official in the area who informed me that a worker was injured on the left leg after he was hit by a shrapnel.”

The wounded worker was brought to Luis Hora Hospital in Bauko Mountain province for treatment, the mayor added.

Police have heightened alert in the area and other parts of the region to prevent another untoward incident.

In an earlier interview with Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) Assistant Regional Director for Operations Senior Superintendent R’Win Pagkalinawan, he said the entire PROCOR is now on red alert following the hostilities in Mindanao. Dionisio Dennis, Jr./