At around 5:30 a.m., Aug. 6, over 100 armed police officers led by Maj. Brent Madiaco and Capt. Richard Abon dispersed striking workers picketing the Tubo gate. During the dispersal operations, police arrested Douglas Farnican and Francisco Dida. Workers believe that the arrests were part of a plan hatched by the PNP and the management of Lepanto Mining Corporation.
By Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat.com
MANKAYAN, Benguet — At around 5:30 a.m., Aug. 6, over 100 armed police officers led by Maj. Brent Madiaco and Capt. Richard Abon dispersed striking workers picketing the Tubo gate of Lepanto Mining Corporation. During the dispersal operations, police arrested Douglas Farnican and Francisco Dida.
Dida was handcuffed and brought inside the Tubo shaft while Farnican was collared at the Tubo waiting shed. Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera (May 1st Movement-Cordillera) spokesperson James Tulipa, together with officers of the Lepanto Employees Union (LEU), tried to intercede with Madiaco for the release of the arrested workers. But the latter refused.
“We tried to negotiate with Major Madiaco but he wouldn’t listen. Instead he questioned the assistance that Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera (KMU-Cordillera) is providing the workers,” said Tulipa.
After Dida was handcuffed, the police used a company security vehicle to bring him to the Mankayan town hall. But workers blocked the vehicle and demanded that Dida be released.
“It took a while before authorities finally found the key to remove his handcuffs and release him,” Tulipa said.
As of 10 a.m. July 6, workers are still looking for Farnican, whom the police probably took using another route.
“The arrests are part of a plan hatched by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the management. Even before the arrests, word has it that the PNP plans to arrest one of the officers of the union,” Tulipa said.
In the same incident, another KMU organizer was chased by PNP elements as he tried to check on his colleagues.
“After we were driven away from the picketline, one of our colleagues arrived. Then we heard one of the policemen shout ‘Diay man, diay naka-jacket ti nangisit’ (Arrest that one, that person in black jacket) Tulipa said. But workers blocked the road and prevented the PNP from catching him.
KMU condemned the PNP for its continued acts of violence against the striking workers and its collusion with the management of Lepanto Mining Corporation.
The Tubo picketline was only recently reclaimed by the workers last July 30. Nordis / Posted by Bulatlat