Benguet’s IPs demand the withdrawal of the mining company’s license

The Bulalacao Indigenous Peoples Organization says Crescent Mining Development Corporation’s MPSA renewal is illegal, citing its failure to complete the free, prior and informed consent process as required by law.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The indigenous peoples of Barangay Bulalacao in Mankayan, Benguet, have asked the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences (MGB) to recall the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Crescent Mining Development Corporation (CMDC) .

In a July 15 telephone interview, Barangay Captain Romy Bayanes said the community had passed a resolution in which they also called on the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to stop drilling activities of the CMDC.

“We visited the NCIP regional office on Tuesday (July 12). The regional office has received our resolution. We were told the regional manager was in Mountain Province at the time,” he said.

The Bulalacao Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO) claimed in the resolution that the renewal of the company’s MPSA was illegal, citing the company’s failure to complete the free, prior and informed consent process. (FPIC) as required by law.

“(T)he Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICC/IPs) of Bulalacao urge MGB-CAR to withdraw the renewal of MPSA 07-96-CAR due to the lack of a required certification prerequisite in section 59 of the Indigenous Peoples Act. Rights Act as there has been no favorable outcome of a Free, Prior, and Informed Consent process ever conducted pursuant to Series 3 of the NCIP Administrative Order of 2012,” the resolution reads.

“(C) Given that Crescent willfully and continually ignores NCIP’s request for status quo, Bulalacao ICC/IPs, challenge the NCIP-CAR Regional Director to escalate, enforce IPS rights under the IPRA and recognize Inayan’s IP value and immediately issue a cease and desist order to Crescent,” the community said.

They handed over copies of the resolution to the Mankayan Ancestral Domain IPO and other relevant local government units for adoption; and MGB regional and central offices.

Do not abandon

The natives erected a barricade in the village of Bulalacao in the town of Mankayan despite the renewal of the MPSA of the CMDC.

Bayanes said they continue to guard the barricade the community erected in June to stop the mining company’s drilling activities. “We are at our barricade even as Crescent has resumed drilling activities,” he said.

On June 18, CMDC contractors ceased their drilling activities when they saw the barricade. However, the captain of the barangay could not determine when the company resumed drilling activities.

“Maybe they haven’t really stopped,” Bayanes said. “We will continue to stay in our barricade and call for a halt to drilling activities, hoping they will heed our call.”

On June 23, Addog wrote to MGB Chief Wilfredo Moncano recalling the CMDC’s renewed MPSA “pending completion of the FPIC process for issuance of the Certification Prerequisite (CP)”.

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) requires project proponents to seek a prerequisite for certification with NCIP. The Commission en banc will issue the CP when the Indigenous community has consented to the project through the FPIC process.

The government awarded CMDC’s MPSA on November 12, 1996, which expired on November 11, 2021. The office renewed the contract on March 2.

In a May 27 letter to Addog, MGB-CAR Regional Director Faye Apil said her office approved the renewal of CMDC’s MPSA after receiving a copy of a certification that the NCIP Regional Director had issued on December 7, 2021, raising “no objection” to the renewal of the MPSA. provided that the company “commits to completing the CLIP process”.

The MPSA is an agreement whereby the government grants the contractor the exclusive right to conduct mining operations for 25 years – of exploration, development of the mine site and use of mined minerals – in an approved contract area. and gross output shares. –

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