Mayor Yields to People Power, Rejects Mining Exploration

Firming up

A woman elder from Nametbet Dominga Gaspar said residents in Upper Gambang could not allow any mining operation in the area because it has been disuniting families and the neighborhood. “Uray exploration ket unggay,” (Not even exploration) as she recalled how NCIP and Royalco deceived community elders into accepting the clustering of the barangay, dividing its elders into pro-mining and anti-mining.

Benny Alingdan of sitio Cagam-is added,“Itakderanmi ti kaaduan ta adu ti annak mi,” (We stand for the majority because we have so many children) he said.

First stage of mining operation

In an earlier forum, this town’s indigenous peoples said they were made to believe that exploration is not a part of a mining operation, contrary to what leaders of the Benguet Mining Alert and Action Network (BMAAN) has asserted.

BMAAN Spokesperson Vergel Aniceto, a former mine worker at Benguet Corporation’s Acupan Mines in Itogon explained that a mining operation starts with mineral exploration.

Phase I has been issued an exploration permit in May 2008. Phase II has been issued a MOA and awaits a mining permit.

Those opposing any mining operation in Gambang, however, claimed that the processes have been deceitful and fraudulent.

During the dialogue, Fausto Maliones, a resident of Proper Gambang and new chairperson of Gambang Indigenous Peoples Association and Community Organization (GIPACO) told Bakun officials and residents that exploration permits may be converted into a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) or financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) when the holder opts to do so, quoting Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2007-15. Northern Dispatch/Posted byBulatlat.com

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