MEMBERS of the Provincial Board of Benguet have called on the municipality of Mankayan to cause the stoppage of bulldozing activity by Lepanto Mining Company within Barangay Paco, Mankayan and nearby affecting areas.
"Upon consultation with the Indigenous Peoples group of Paco, Mankayan, it was learned among others that certain requisites prior to mining activities particularly the Free Prior consent (FPIC) have not been secured by the company," the resolution said.
An indigenous peoples group have earlier called on officials regarding the mining firm’s activity in the area.
"In view of the current circumstances, it is deemed fitting and proper that the Local Government Unit of Mankayan thru the local Sangguniang Bayan initiaties the appropriate measure to address the issues raised considering the urgency of the matters raised," added the resolution.
Last week, residents from Mankayan appraised the provincial board on the IP group's grievances on the bulldozing and earth moving operations of the Lepanto Mining Company in the barangay.
Lepanto proposed to re-open the abandoned access road from 900L down to TFSA Dam and install tailings pipeline.
"A memorandum of agreement was made but not all of us affected land owners on the said proposed project are agreeable to the said MOA," according to Lorna Caytap of Mankayan Citizens Group.
The group added the bulldozing activity was conducted with the aid of the companys security forces, Mankayan police and Philippine Army from resulting in the destruction of barricade fence and 11 healthy Benguet pine trees with varying diameters.
Board Member Apolinario Camsol, who chairs the committee on mining and energy during the session last week manifested the body together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to visit and verify the actual status of the subjected area.
Board Member Florencio Bentrez said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau should be invited in aid of legislation on the matter while board member Jim Botiwey added the matter be simultaneously referred to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office for proper investigation.
Moreover, Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr., chair on committee of environment and natural resources suggested the management of Lepanto be invited to enlighten the body on the issues.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on December 14, 2017.
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