By GINA DIZON
SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – Some 40 officials of the four Local Government Units (LGU) of Sagada, Bauko, Tadian, and Sabangan reiterated their strong opposition to the Notice of Application for Exploration Permit by the Cordillera Exploration, Inc (CEXI).
The said application filed by CEXI, , a subsidiary of US-based Anglo- Saxon Gold Mining Company with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (MGB-DENR-CAR), the area covers 1,872.50 hectares of barangays Ambasing of Sagada; Duagan and Sumadel of Tadian; and barangays Bagnen Oriente, Bagnen Proper, Bila, Guinzadan Norte, Guinzadan Sur, Lesseb, Maba-ay, Sadsaddan, and Tapapan of Bauko town.
The LGU officials forwarded their collective opposition to the application in writing as resolved in their July 14 meeting to the MGB-DENR-CAR offices.
In their joint resolution and petition, they strongly cited disadvantages of mining against the advantages of employment and monetary contributions to the LGU coffers.
The LGU officials’ resolution noted the clear and present danger to the environment and therefore to the community as necessited by the extractive nature of mining operations that eventually will cause the loss of sustainable economic sources for the next generations.
Councilor Kapon Gomgom-o of Sagada reminded the August body of a study by the University of the Philippines noting evidences of soil creep in Sagada. Soil creep refers to a mass movement due to the expansion and contraction of the water as it moves down slope.
A report in 2004 by the MGB-DENR-CAR also identified “Ankileng, Sagada as one of the 40 geological hazard areas in the Cordillera due to ground subsidence and unstable ground hazards.” Ankileng is adjacent to Ambasing barangay, one of the prospected barangays in the said application.
The MGB-DENR-CAR report cited that Sagada municipality “may also be prone to other natural and geologic hazards because its southeastern side is close to a fault line from Apayao down south towards Otucan, Bauko.”
Also, Tadian Councilor Vic Turtem noted that exploration activities including mapping and research already paves the way for further mining operations. Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) of Sagada chairman Jaime Dugao also noted that allowing the company to explore the presence of minerals may be a prelude to claim approval of the barangays.
Former Ambasing Barangay chairman and now incumbent Councilor Francis Kilongan said that the Barangay Council of Ambasing recently forwarded its strong opposition to the application of said mining corporation, and to any application for a mining exploration permit through a resolution also forwarded to the MGB-DENR-CAR.
Councilor Jose Pasan of Tadian also informed the body that constituents of the municipality led by their LGU officials consistently opposed mining explorations in their municipality since 2001 and finds no reason to stop now.
In the same event, Councilor Ricky Samidan also added Bauko LGU officials’ strong opposition to the CEXI application for an exploration permit.
Also, Councilor Ernesto Bondad of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sabangan relayed that though the application does not cover any barangay of his municipality, he addeed their united and solidarity opposition to the same, considering the proximity of the area appliied for to the jurisdiction of Sabangan.
It is historical that people of the Mountain Province have consistently voiced their opposition to mining operations especially large-scale mining in their communities.# nordis.net