Tuba Dads Hands Off in Philex Row

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 29, August 26-September 1, 2007

TUBA, Benguet – The Tuba municipal council has yet to make a position on the ongoing conflict between affected residents and the Philex Mining Corporation over the latter’s mineral application, a councilor revealed during a recent media forum here.

Tuba Councilor Blas Dalus disclosed that the municipal council has no stand yet on the present conflict in Barangay (village) Camp 3, the site of Philex’s mining operations. He said there is a need for affected residents to “consolidate their demands and complaints” and to inform the council of developments.

In two of its sessions the council was informed of the petition submitted by Tuba residents asking for the revocation of the Special Mines Permit issued by the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in January. The council was also furnished a copy of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Benguet office report on the failed Aug. 14 dialogue that was supposed to be held between Philex officials and community leaders.

“We were invited in the recent dialog but we were not able to attend due to a pressing matter we need to attend to,” Dalus said. “So we really do not know what is going on. We urge both parties, the affected residents and Philex to give us their position paper so we could act appropriately.”

Dalus added the residents already sought the assistance of the NCIP.

Dalus further said the council earlier initiated a dialog between Philex management and affected residents regarding the settlement of compensation for areas and properties damaged.

“We already identified areas that need to be compensated and the company already paid some of the claimants,” Dalus explained. “We have yet to check if the management paid all of the identified land claimants.”

Nordis earlier reported that the Aug. 14 dialogue set by the NCIP failed after representatives of the Philex mines refused to attend the dialog at the open-pit area in Barangay Camp 3. The NCIP specifically set the dialog at the open pit area but the management insisted on holding the dialog inside the mines camp.

The residents are opposing Philex’s application for a mineral production-sharing agreement (docketed with the MGB-DENR as APSA 102) covering some 98 hectares in Brgy. Camp 3. Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat

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