Mine firm exec counters Mankayan folk allegations-A A +A
Thursday, October 11, 2012
CRESCENT Mining and Development Corporation defended itself on the allegations of the residents who are opposing its exploration in Mankayan, Benguet.
Crescent president Ronnie Siapno sent a letter recently to the Provincial Board of Benguet, which aims to enlighten the officials on the allegations of the residents.
On August 24, the Barangay council of Bulalacao endorsed the resolutions of non–consent numbers 1 and 2. The resolution expressed the oppositions of the community on the exploration activities of the company in sitios Caew, Colocol, Sayangan and Manaba of Bulalacao.
The community alleged the further exploration of the company would affect the water source and environment of the town.
The residents also expressed the company never conducted a public consultation prior to the activity. They added the existence of the company might lead to disunity and misunderstanding among the residents.
Moreover, the community expressed their fears earlier that the drilling activity of the company might result to cracks in the river beds and ground subsidence.
Siapno stated “while we respect the petitioners’ right to express their concerns and opposition to Crescent’s activities, we respectfully submit that we have sufficiently addressed such concerns and have complied with the requirements of law relative to the conduct of exploration.”
He added the company was granted a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the government on Nov. 12, 1996 which is valid for 25 years.
The exploration activity of the company started by the virtue of an approved two year exploration and environmental work program.
The program came prior to the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the requirements on the conduct of exploration which is a conduct of Free Prior and Informed Consent. During the drilling activity of the company then, it was covered by a Memorandum of Agreement between the company and the community.
Moreover, Siapno said prior to the commencement of the drilling activity in 1996, a baseline water survey was conducted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in response to the concerns of the community that the activity might affect their water source. The springs which were identified in the survey still exist until now.
The company’s president further explained in his letter the exploration permit was renewed by the MGB Director then in 2006.
Siapno added the company conducted several public consultations about their explorations contrary to the allegations of the petitioners. He also stated the allegations on the existence of the company causes misunderstanding and disunity is based on fear and not on factual evidence.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 11, 2012.