By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — The militant alliance of Cordillera peoples organizations here called for concerned agencies and local government units (LGU) to let the Municipality of Itogon heal from several decades of natural resources exploitation.
This was in relation to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s (MGB) approval of the exploration project of Cordillera Tiger Gold Resources Inc. located in the said municipality.
Santos Mero, the deputy secretary-general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and also a native of Itogon said the municipality had enough of mineral exploitation. “Let Itogon heal for the sake of the future generations ,” he added. He further said that the municipality should nurture its remaining resources for its people and not for corporate greed.
He pointed out that the area subjected to the exploration of the afore mentioned firm is a watershed that is why it was previously rejected.
“But for some reasons, it was now approved,” he said adding that the approval was questionable. He doubted if there was a free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process conducted relative to the project.
He further said that the area subject to mineral exploration is very near area mined by one of the mining firms in the past. Thus, he added that it is hazardous.
The SP should take a stand
The Sangguninang Panlalawigan (SP) on the other hand he said should take a stand not only for Itogon but for the entire province. Benguet, he said, had been subjected for mineral exploitation for so long and it is time for it to have a breathing space.
One of the concrete effects of this exploitation he said is that entire the region, Benguet has the highest number of landslide prone areas. “Haan tayo nga mailibak nga ti dakkel ti kontri-busyon ti dadakkel nga minas ditoy,” (We cannot deny the fact that large mines has a major contribution on this) he added.
As a good example, he cited the legislative action made by the Mt. Province August body which issued a resolution opposing the entry of large scale mining corporations in their territory. This move of the said SP was laudable.
This he said should be imitated by Benguet considering that the province has a long history and has experienced the devastating effects of the exploitative industry.
If we have remaining minerals he said, it should be for the of the people of Itogon through responsible small scale mining (SSM). “Ammo tayo met nga until now ket SSM town pay lang ti Itogon,” (We know that Itogon is still a small scale mining town) he said adding that mining corporations should not meddle with the peoples’ livelihood. # nordis.net