Residents of Barangay Camp 3 in Tuba, Benguet are wary of the NCIP-scheduled “negotiation between Philex Mining Corporation and the host indigenous cultural community” set for Aug. 14 right at the open-pit area in Sitio Alang.
BY LYN V. RAMO
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. Jo. 25, July 29-Aug 4, 2007
TUBA, Benguet – Residents of Barangay (village) Camp 3 in Tuba are wary of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-scheduled “negotiation between Philex Mining Corporation and the host indigenous cultural community” set for August 14 right at the open-pit area in Sitio (sub-village) Alang.
In an advisory sent to three of the community leaders, regional legal officer of NCIP-Benguet Provincial Office Atty. Severino Manuel G. Lumiqued asked the residents of the affected community to attend the said “negotiation” in relation to the community’s earlier rejection of the mining application covering a portion of the Ibaloy-Kalanguya ancestral domain.
Filed with the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR), the application for a mineral production-sharing agreement covering some 98 hectares in Camp 3 was rejected by resident indigenous peoples following a series of community meetings and dialogs as part of the NCIP procedures for the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) required under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA).
The FPIC that has gone through the defined NCIP procedures is required for any project inside the ancestral domain of indigenous peoples.
“Nalpas met a nagdesisyon kami” (We have already decided), Rufo Gayaso told Nordis. He said the communities affected by Philex’s 50-year mining operations have decided they want the large-scale mining operations to stop. He also said they would rehabilitate whatever is left of their land and resources.
“Naglawaan ti dinadael ti Philex” (Philex has destroyed so wide an area), Raymundo Tindaan added, referring to the open pit area which has flattened Mt. Camaring and reduced it into an arid and flat area. Camaring, according to the elders, used to be a fertile mountain with streams and lush vegetative cover.
A woman in her thirties said Philex through so many years had kept promising them compensation for areas and property damaged. “Enough of this sweet talk,” she said in an earlier interview. She also said they could rehabilitate the remaining land and water to sustain their children, provided Philex stopped mining.
Some 20 communities surrounding the Philex mine site issued a Statement of Rejection for the company’s mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) which is docketed as APSA-102 with the DENR on April 11, 2007.
Philex reportedly clarified issues raised by the indigenous population in its letter to the NCIP national leadership, who saw the need for Philex and the communities to sit down again and ordered another dialogue. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)