By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — Santos Mero, the deputy secretary general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), said once an FTAA is approved, the owner of the applications are given a permission to explore, develop, and exploit the mineral resources over the applied area.
He added that the companies are only required to seek a free prior and informed consent (FPIC) only once and not for every stage of the bulk development. “It covers all the stages of mining already,” he explained to situate the effect of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) memo 2011-01.
CPA said that the applications for Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) by Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) and Shipside Incorporated which is also a subsidiary of LCMC pause a threat to the communities in the area.
Mero pointed out the effect of the DENR memorandum order 2011-01 issued to clean out all stagnant applications signalled fear among the mine firms that they would be delisted from the mining tenement therefore they had to activate their pending applications.
In an earlier statement, the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) said that because of the memo, “the DENR busies itself in reviewing the productivity of approved mining tenements and permits, and has thus scrapped 500 unproductive mining claims.”
“Rather than calling for a genuine moratorium, the DENR memo could be viewed as a mere tweak in the agency’s mining bureau for smoother processing of mining permits in the future,” the statement further read.
Moreover, according to KAMP, it (DENR) does not affirm its mandate to protect the country’s natural resources, nor does it genuinely respect indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral lands.
On the other hand, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Benguet during their regular session last July 18 received a copy of the two-year environmental work programs of the aforementioned mining companies.
It was stated that LCMC’s FTAA application No. 24 covers an area of 10,468.9 hectares within the municipalities of Kabayan, Bakun, Mankayan and Buguias. The proposed FTAA is for the “exploration, development, and utilization of gold, copper, silver and other associated minerals” in the said area.
On the other hand, Shipside Incorporated FTAA application covers an approximate area of 13,777.9 hectares within the municipality of Bauko in Mt. Province; Buguias, Bokod and Abatan in Benguet; Lamut and Lagawe in Ifugao; and Bayombong and Kayapa in Nueva Viscaya.
The said environment work programs was referred to the Committee on Environment of the SP.
On the other hand, Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso in an interview said they will be inviting the mine firms mentioned to explain their work program to the August body. # nordis.net