MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels in Mindanao’s Caraga region confirmed seizing a miner in Agusan del Sur during a “punitive action” over the weekend.
The North Eastern Mindanao command of the New People’s Army said its fighters also seized 21 firearms, including assault rifles and grenade launchers, during the raid on the mine of the Lademora family in Sitio Sinug-ang, Bayugan 3, Rosario town Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, rebels in North Central Mindanao said the NPA’s South Central Bukidnon Sub-Regional Command was investigating complaints against an Army sergeant captured by guerrillas during a raid on a security agency in Valencia City on May 5.
Ka Ariel Montero, spokesman of the North Eastern Mindanao command, said they conducted the raid and “arrested” Abud Lademora for the alleged “long record of abuse, crime, destruction of people’s livelihood and exploitation of small miners committed by the Lademora family.”
Abud is a son of the late former colonel Carlos Lademora, who organized and led the armed group called the “Lost Command” in the late 1970s.
Montero said the group, composed of former Philippine Constabulary personnel like Lademora and “criminal elements,” acted as “a private army of the National Guthrie Plantations Inc. (NGPI) and Agusan Plantation Inc. (API) to grab land from farmers in the towns of Rosario and San Francisco, Agusan del Sur for oil palm plantations. Thousands of farmers were victimized and forced to sell or abandon their lands in fear of the harassment and brutality of the armed forces of the Lost Command.”
Lademora also used the group to control mining in Sinug-ang and in Tambis, Barobo, Surigao del Sur.
The rebel spokesman also said Lademora was responsible for “the massacre of 40 civilians when he was assigned in Las Navas, Samar in the 1970’s, during the US-Marcos dictatorship.”
Although Lademora died in 2015, Montero said, “his children continued his brutal acts and grave exploitation of the people by using the armed group.”
In a separate statement, Ka Malen Mabini, spokesperson of the NPA-NCMR, said they were gathering and investigating information against Technical Sergeant Joseph Valmores Paredes, who was captured at a checkpoint during the rebel raid on the DASIA Security Agency.
Mabini assured Paredes’ family that “the custodial unit is treating him well while he is in their hands” and looking after his health and safety.