While some environmental groups welcome Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez’s plan to enlist the help of the New People’s Army (NPA), the antimining group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said armed groups, including NPA rebels, are not welcome in mining-affected areas.
ATM said it is opposed to the idea of having more armed groups in mining-affected areas, saying mining itself is already causing conflict in areas with their mere presence.
Besides, ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera said, Lopez’s pronouncement, which drew mixed reactions, was allegedly done or announced without consulting mining-affected communities.
“We intend to seek clarification from the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] Secretary about her plan. We were not consulted about it,” Garganera said.