Terrorist fears hold up foreign aid scheme
A BRITISH Government agency is to reconsider plans to invest funds in a Philippine palm oil plantation following claims by a Catholic organisation that members of a notorious paramilitary terrorist group are employed there as security guards.
The claims, reported in the Catholic Herald on August 27, were contained in a report published by the Catholic Institute for International Relations on a plantation in the Agusan region of the Philippines owned by NDC-Guthrie Plantations, a joint venture of the Guthrie Corporation and the National Development Corporation, a Philippine Government agency.
According to the report, NDC-Guthrie admit to employing as security guards on the estate members of the Lost Command, a group of irregulars containing a high proportion of ex-convicts, which is said to have been involved in racketeering and gold-smuggling and to have been responsible for a number of murders. ment Corporation, an agency of the British Government's Overseas Development Administration, was close to finalising an agreement with NDC-Guthrie for further finance of the plantation, but has now suspended negotiations pending its own assessment.
The investigation will be headed by Sir Peter Meinertzhagen, the Corporation's General Manager, whose report will be considered by the Board before a final decision is made.
Indiscipline in government forces and paramilitary groups such as Lost Command is a major contributory factor to widespread and ever-increasing repression and intimidation in the Philippines, according to Sister Mariani of Task Force Detainees.
Sister Mariani, who has been touring Europe this month seeking support for the cause of human rights in her country, spoke at a meeting of the CIIR in London on October 15.
She told of a recent incident at a lumber mill. The private security force roused the workforce in the early hours of the morning, separated the men from the women, marched the men away from the compound and shot 45 of them.
Government forces have been
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