NCIP, mining firm heads to face Congress-A A +A
Friday, June 29, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Protests of Indigenous People has reached congressional ears.
Representative Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna party-list) filed a resolution to the Committee on National Cultural Communities to investigate mining project expansion of Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc. (Goldfields) and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) in Mankayan town.
The companies got the backing of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) despite the opposition of the indigenous peoples (IP) within the town.
Casiño also cited the conflict of interest posed by Goldfields Louis Pawid, Gold Fields regional manager and NCIP is Commissioner Zenaida Brigida Hamada-Pawid.
“It should be interesting to note a possible de facto conflict of interest in the NCIP resolution favoring the mining firm,” the lawmaker said.
The Goldfields regional manager is the stepson the of the NCIP commissioner.
Casiño is urging the Committee on National Cultural Communities headed by Representative Teodoro Baguilat to investigate “the arrogant mining project expansion of Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc. and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company.”
IP groups have cried foul over the decision of the NCIP favoring South African mining company, Goldfields Philippines. Beverly Longid of Katribu party-list has tagged the decision as a manipulation and a human rights violation.
The cries of manipulation have been submitted to the United Nations for review.
Residents of Mankayan have organized into the Save Mankayan Movement (SMM) to protect their remaining environs untouched by large-scale mining.
Casiño citeed “the SMM was organized by hundreds of residents who gathered at Madaymen, Mankayan, where Kankanaey residents have put up a barricade to prevent the drilling operations Gold Fields LCMC to this day.”
He said the mining project lies within Mankayan’s ancestral domain, which is documented as Certificate of Ancestral Domain.
“The Ipra (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act) defines an ancestral domain as a communally owned tract of land and resources. But it appears that the mining firm negotiated with some property owners but not the rest of the community in skirting the FPIC requirement,” he said.
Casiño is urging the committee to look into the issue when Congress resumes sessions in July.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 30, 2012.