By JOHNNY T. SAWADAN
BALBALAN, Kalinga — The indigenous peoples (IPs) of Balbalan municipality are determined to hold a conference and dialogue on August 6 and 7 respectively at the Balbalan Poblacion on large scale mining (LSM).
The Kalinga Agkaykaysa Salakniban Aglawlaw ken Gameng (Kalasag) Balbalan chapter in coordination with the people’s organizations in the different localities will spearhead the conference and dialogue. More than 150 delegates from the 14 barangays of the municipality are expected to participate in the activities.
The mining conference and dialogue were conceptualized in response to the ongoing exploration drilling of the Cordillera Exploration Company, Inc. (CEXI) in Laocon, Tawang and the Application for Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (AFTAA) of the Patrick Resources Corporation and Mt. Franz Mining Company covering 11 and 3 barangays respectively. The people of Tawang and other localities have engaged in several forms of protest actions in the past years but the burning issue persists to this date.
The Kalasag Balbalan expanded council meeting was convened on July 25 to iron out the plans and activities for the forthcoming conference and dialogue. Hon. Eric Gonayon, the present chairperson of KALASAG Balbalan and the elected vice mayor of Balbalan municipality proposed for the inclusion of the local chief executive and the LGU heads of offices in the August 7 dialogue.
Hon. David Agulin, the vice chairperson of Kalasag Balbalan and the elected Barangay Captain of Gawaan added the invitation of the church people who are also concerned with the mining issue. The body unanimously approved the proposals in that meeting.
The August 6 conference will update the delegates on the municipal and provincial mining situation.
It is also expected that the participants will be briefed on the content and analysis of Executive Order 79, the new PNoy’s mining policy issuance.
The conference hopes to draw the approval and signing of the petition against large scale and destructive mining which will be presented in the August 7 dialogue between the in IPs of Balbalan and the LGU officials. # nordis.net