By LEVY MANGILI
ITOGON, Benguet — An indigenous community exchange was made on December 15, 2017 in the barangays Dalupirip and Ucab here in this town. The said exchange was participated in by 20 community representatives from Kalinga, Ifugao, Abra and Mountain Province and members of the Cordillera Disaster and Response and Development Services or CorDisRDS.
The exchange is part of the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services under its program Building Resiliency of Indigenous Communities on Climate Change Adaptation (BRICCCA).
The exchange aims to expose community representatives to other communities to share and gain lessons from the experiences and accumulated knowledge. It is a venue to observe and learn from actual experiences and struggles of Indigenous communities affected by mining and mega-dam projects, especially for communities that are locations of standing applications for hydro-electric power projects and mining explorations.
Also, to learn the effect of mining and dams, and how it contributes to climate change. Also to learn and share learnings of communities’ initiative to mitigate the effects of such large ground altering and extractive endeavors.
As part of the exchange the participants were able to see the effect of a mega dam in Dalupirip and mining in Ucab.
In Dalupirip the participants were able to see how the massive silting from the dumped mine wastes destroyed the natural flow of the river. Decerio a local of Dalupirip also added that in 2015 when typhoon Karen and Lando’s heavy rain carried the mine tailings spilled into the Agno river this caused the disappearance of the “paedeng”- a local indigenous fish specie, thus the community has not celebrated the annual “paedeng festival” for 2 years now.
On the other hand, in Ucab the participants saw the destruction of mountain- open pit mining. Fernando Mangili local of Ucab and member of the APIT-TAKO shared how they were able to stop the open pit mining from expading in Ucab. There had been a lot of challenges like facing legal charges, economic deprivation and more.
Rodolfo Liwanen a participant from Mountain Province said that since he saw evident effects of these projects on the whole community, it is a must to resist since it does not serve the interest and needs of the people. # nordis.net