Farmers’ group urges DENR, NCIP to release probe findings-A A +A
Saturday, February 9, 2013
THE Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) are urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to release their findings on their investigation of the alleged illegal operation of A. Brown Company in Opol, Misamis Oriental.
Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general, said in a statement that KMP, KMP-Northern Mindanao Region (KMP-NMR), APC, Kalumbay, Sentro Kitanglad, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and the Pesticide Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP) has submitted to DENR and NCIP last May 9, 2012 the results of the International Fact Finding Mission (IFFM) conducted on May 6 to 8, 2012 on the impacts of palm oil plantation on indigenous peoples of Bagocboc and Tingalan villages in the municipality of Opol, which is owned by A. Brown Company.
Ajiguna, who is also a member of the IFFM team, said a dialogue was also conducted between KMP, the members of the IFFM team, DENR and NCIP officials regarding the result of the mission.
He said both agencies committed to conduct a separate investigation on the operation of A Brown Company.
“Both offices also told us that representatives of the IFFM team can join the investigation, especially from the APC and RMP,” Ajiguna said.
However, he said they learned that the investigation on A Brown was already conducted last September 13, 2012.
“We were not informed about this and we were not furnished with the results of their investigation, which seem to be unusual,” he said.
In November last year, APC and KMP said they formally requested for a copy of the result of the investigation.
Antonio Flores, KMP National Council Member and also a member of the IFFM team, said the DENR replied twice by postal mail dated November 15, 2012 and December 17, 2012, stating that their request was referred to the Undersecretary for Field Operation office and Head Executive Assistant Office.
In January this year, he said the DENR staff verbally informed KMP that the investigation report would have to be requested by KMP from the DENR’s regional office in Cagayan de Oro.
“But, to set the record straight, the KMP-NMR has requested DENR Region 10 office for a copy of the report in October 2012 and November 2012 but we were instructed to get the report at the DENR national office. Why are they making it hard for us to get the investigation report? Are they covering-up for something?” Flores said.
He said the DENR-Northern Mindanao Region is under the direct supervision and control of the DENR-National Office so it should have a file copy of the result of the investigation.
“But why is the investigation report of the DENR and NCIP has not been released to date?" Ajiguna added.
He stressed that during the IFFM, they discovered that the company does not have a permit to operate in the said area.
“This was disclosed by DENR officials during our dialog last May 9. Thus, the company is operating illegally,” Ajiguna said.
Earlier, company officials asserted that their operations are legal and with corresponding permits. (Terry Betonio/Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 10, 2013.