The children were playing as the adults were discussing about the ill effects of mining on their ancestral land and in their lives. But their games were more than just games. These were the children’s way of expressing their views on the life and death issue of mining.
BY ANGIE DE LARA
Vol. VIII, No. 12, April 27-May 3, 2008
BAAY-LICUAN, Abra?Cordillera Day is not just for elders. The saying “age doesn’t matter” proved that even children understand the dangers that mining would bring to their lives and on their ancestral land.
Since they are after all children, the facilitator used games as a medium to convey knowledge, ideas and values to children for them to enjoy the learning process.
There were three games: Aso’t Pusa (Dog & Cat), Pepsi-Seven-Up & The Boat is Sinking.
In Aso’t Pusa, two groups formed two layers of circles. The inner circle protects the child assigned as “Nano” from the child assigned as “Oly.” Oly who is outside the outer circle, would do everything to get Nano. But the two groups would prevent Oly from catching Nano. Even if Oly is able to penetrate the outer circle, there is still in the inner circle to protect Nano.
Megan Daguiao, a 13-year old Igorot girl from Baguio City, a participant in the game, related that in the game “Aso’t Pusa” (Dog and Cat) Oly represents the Olympus Pacific Mining, Inc., which is conducting exploration activities at Mount Capcapo in Licuan, Abra, which, in turn is represented by Nano. The outer circle represents the people and institutions pretending to be the protector of the mountain and villagers while the inner circle represents the people of the village who have resolved to fight the mining company. Megan, who played Oly, said she easily passed through the first circle because they do not care much for Nano, but failed to enter the inner circle because the people know the dangers that Oly would bring to Nano. “That’s why they would do anything to protect Nano from harm,” she said.
Jason Verzola, a 13-year old also from Baguio City, participated in the game “The Boat is Sinking.” In this game, the “It” says a number and the participants should group themselves according to that number. Those who are not able to join any group are removed from the game. Jason explained that the game taught them that, “we should not abuse all the available resources around us, we should also think of the future of our next generation.” The excess, he said, represents the minerals from exploited mountains, which mining companies profit from but cause the destruction of the environment.