By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Copy furnished the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) office here was a letter from the regional director of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Amador Batay-an, ordering the Cresent Mining and Development Corporation (CDMC) to stop mining activities in the municipality of Mankayan.
The letter was addressed to Ronnie Siapno, president of CDMC with office address at Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
Batay-an’s order was based on the strong opposition of the Kankana-ey land claimants in the concession area of the said mine firm to the operation of the mining company even without compliance to the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process required under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
Earlier, the NCIP regional office received a letter signed by the members of the Kankana-ey tribe from different barangays of Mankayan covered by the mine firm’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) registered at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as APSA 00041. In the letter, the signatories vehenmently registered their “strong objection to the future mining activities of CDMC”.
“Being the affected Land Claimants, we should have been informed and consulted by the CDMC before it started its mining operations,” the letter reads.
CDMC, they said, is insisting that they have already secured and have undergone the FPIC process. However, the FPIC they added was questionable because the persons that the firm consulted were a selected few, and the consultations the letter added were discreetly done outside the municipality particularly in a hotel at Bangao, Buguias.
“So that in effect, the FPIC being claimed by the CDMC does not bind and affect us as we were never cosulted in a general meeting,” the letter further reads.
The signatories consider the FPIC secured by the company as null, void and unenforceable. While it is true that the mine firm have secured an MPSA, the land claimants iterated that an “FPIC should have been issued with their active participation”.
Meanwhile, in the May 20, 2011 mining tenement statistics report (most recent) from the MGB-CAR, APSA 41 of the CDMC covering 324 hectares is listed as “for FPIC process”. # nordis.net