By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — After more than a month since Bakun folk sought the intervention of the provincial officials to thresh out the persisting community conflict rising from the exploration of Royalco Philippines Inc. in the area, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) now requests the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to revoke Royalco’s permit.
The SP during their regular session on November 15 approved on 2nd and final reading the resolution requesting the MGB-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to reconsider and revoke the exploration permit issued to Royalco for not complying with the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process.
Moreover, the resolution also stated that the revocation of the company’s permit also aims to give way to a legitimate and acceptable consultation process.
The resolution pointed out that affected residents of Gambang, Bakun are opposing the renewal of the exploration permit granted by the MGB-CAR to Royalco saying that they were not properly consulted.
“There was no actual FPIC conducted in the area for the issuance of the certification of consent to operate,” the resolution reads.
Furthermore, the renewal of the company’s exploration permit according to the manifestation of Atty. Amador Batay-an, the regional director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was questionable.
This is because the resolution of the Host and Partner Indigenous Cultural Communities requesting the MGB-CAR to renew Royalco’s exploration permit covering an area of 986 hectares in Gambang was not signed by the authorized Elders in the community.
With this, the SP believes that there is a need to stop all the activities being undertaken by Royalco in the area to give way for a dialogue which will address the priority concerns of the people affected.
A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to MGB-CAR through Engr Samuel Paragas for his information and appropriate action. Also, copies will be forwarded to Clarence Baguilat, the regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to governor Nestor Fongwan, and to the residents of Gambang through their barangay captain and the head of the Council of Elders. # nordis.net