By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY – In an interview, members of Bakun Aywanan expressed solidarity to the people of Mankayan in their struggle to stop the mining activities of certain mine firm in their ancestral land.
Dominga Gaspar, spokes person of Bakun Aywanan said, about nine of them from Gambang, Bakun went to Sitio Tabeo of Barangay Madaymen in Mankayan last week and were welcomed by more or less 150 people in the barricade. The barricade she said was set up near the drilling site of Goldfields.
It can be recalled that members of Bakun Aywanan in Royalco’s Phase III exploration in Gambang lead the barricade last year that lasted for several months. They blocked every entrace in the said phase to avoid the entry of the mine firm’s equipment.
This community has tried every avenue to register their protest to the said mining activities. From community dialogues, local government units, line agencies up to Congress that lead to the congressional on-site hearing.
In their visit in Tabeo, the community Gaspar said requested them to share their experiences on their fight.
Gaspar and the other members of Bakun Aywanan then advised the people at the barricade to have more patience, courage, and most of all consistent with their support for their struggle to be heard.
They shared that during their barricade in Gambang, it was sacrifice that have helped them to be able to take their fight to the mainstream. Without it, they were not able to sustain the barricade that could have made the entry of the mines equipment in the area possible.
But because every family sacrificed their time specially at night to guard the entry points, the plans of the company did not materialize.
She recognized that Tabeo has a more complicated problem than their situation because the drilling equipment are already in the area. It is easier she added if the people barricaded the area even before the exploration activities started.
Also, they encouraged the people in Tabeo to join the larger group campaigning agaist destructive mining. The Save the Abra River Movement (STARM) that encompasses the provinces of Benguet, Abra, Mt. Province and Ilocos Sur (BAMPIS). # nordis.net