Sipalay PNP chief vows to respond to calls for help at the mine site, but...

The chief of the Sipalay City Police Office vowed to respond to all calls for assistance at the mining site of the defunct Maricalum Mining Corporaion (MMC) in Barangay San Jose, in the city.

MINING SITE TENSION. Sipalay PNP director, Chief Insp. Vargas, right, assured newsmen he will not take sides in the labor tug-of-war at the former Maricalum Mining Corp. property in San Jose. At left, just one of several equipment and machines the union eyes to be sold to get their dues.*(Arman Toga photos)

Chief Inspector Romeo Vargas, in assuring mediamen of his impartiality in the ongoing disputes at the site, however said they cannot readily respond during night for their own safety.

Vargas said with tensions happening at times at the area, and the ongoing cat and mouse status of government troops and communist rebels, they cannot just simply proceed especially during dark hours.

“Sipalay is very peaceful. Even though we are always on red alert status against the communists, we continue to patrol to maintain peace and order. The only place here giving us headache is the MMC mining site,” he told newsmen in an interview at his office.


The current conflict at the mine site is between former workers who have been fighting, for 22 years now, for their dues.

Tension runs high when security guards of G Holdings, a company claiming ownership of all MMC properties, fire shots, and when scraps from the area are slipped away to the Sipalay airport and other locations.

The remaining equipment, machines and structures considered as scraps are among MMC properties the former workers can sell to recover what was supposedly paid to them more two decades ago.

According to NAMAWU 103 president Melecio Libo-on, they already won the series of court cases up to the Supreme Court, but they lack the necessary force to enable their ranks to get what are due to them.

He said, even concerned agencies seem afraid to implement the very orders they are supposed to enforce.

Police chief Vargas was lambasted by members of NAMAWU 103 union for his alleged bias in responding to calls for help.

Libo-on and other officials and members of the union told newsmen, that Vargas’was quick to respond to the calls of other stakeholders like G Holdings that has its own security personnel.

NAMAWU officials are waiting for the answer of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to their appeal for help.


Police chief Vargas meanwhile said he will always respond to calls for assistance, either it is at the mine site or elsewhere in the city as long as his own personnel will not be put in danger of getting ambushed by terrorists.*(Arman P. Toga)


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