The Filipino government has advised mining companies to ratchet up their security after communist guerrillas attacked a major copper project on New Year's Day.
The interagency government panel recommended that mining companies keep in touch with the national police and military to improve security coordination and implementation.
Agence France Presse reports these recommendations come after the "New People's Army (NPA) rebels set fire to the Xstrata base camp at its Tampakan exploration project in the south of the country and vowed to launch similar actions against other foreign-run mines in the future."
The NPA’s mother organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a 39-year Maoist rebellion, has claimed responsibility for the Xstrata attack and vowed it would “resist the Arroyo regime’s campaign to auction off the country’s natural resources to big foreign capitalists.”
Reuters reports that the Philippines possesses about $1 trillion in "unexplored mineral wealth" and has allowed 100 percent foreign ownership of mining projects in an effort to develop the mineral industry.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza urged the government to use the military to secure the country's most vulnerable mines, but according to Reuters, "He said the meeting was not in favour of a proposal to organise, train and deploy a special military team to protect mining projects getting threats from the NPA rebels."