THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued a cease and desist order (CDO) stopping mining operations within the ancestral domain areas of the indigenous peoples (IP) in Zamboanga del Sur.

Timuay Langhap Rio Olimpio Lingating, head of the Pikumpungan Subanen Gataw Tebed Inc. (PSGT), said that covered by the joint CDO are the mining operations in the villages of Deborok and Lourdes, Pagadian City; Mati, Tigbao; and Langapod and Noboran in Labangan.

The PSGT is a holder of a certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) and was the one that filed a complaint of unabated intrusion by miners in their ancestral domain.

The joint CDO dated June 10 was signed by MGB Acting Regional Director Alfredo Relampagos and NCIP Regional Director Woy Lim Wong.

The complaint filed by Lingating's group was coursed through MGB Director Leo Jasareno, who in turn ordered the MGB regional office to conduct an investigation.

Relampagos and Wong said the mining operations within the IPs ancestral domain are illegal and violate the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 since there was no Free and Prior Informed Consent given by the IP-CADT holders.

The Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Mineral Regulatory Board did not also issue a permit to any individual to conduct mining operations within the ancestral domain of the IPs.

Lingating has thanked the MGB and NCIP for putting a stop on all mining operations within their ancestral domain areas in Zamboanga del Sur. (Bong Garcia)