By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT-QUITASOL
GAMBANG, Bakun — House representatives and CAR commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) urged the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to recall the exploration permit issued to Royalco Philippines, Inc. covering phase 3 here, saying that it is now without basis after the certification precondition was invalidated.
NCIP Commissioner for Cordillera and Region I Zenaida Hamada Pawid, in the recently concluded consultation of the House of Representatives Committee on National Cultural Communities (NCC) said, “now that the NCIP in an enbanc decision revoked the certification presondition issued for phase 3, the mining exploration permit covering the said areas no longer has basis.
Pawid disclosed that the NCIP also created an investigating team to look into the cetifications issued to phase 1 and 2. She explained that while the issuances of the certifications in Gambang are questionable, there are processes that need to be followed before any action.
Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño pointed out that it is but logical for MGB to recall the exploration permit issued to Royalco for phase 3. He said the issuance of the permit from the very beginning was questionable and now that the basis of the permit is cancelled all the more that it should be recalled.
Casiño also suggested that the NCC furnish the NCIP copies of documents and data gathered from the consultations and congressional hearings on the investigation of the Royalco permit to help the investigation team.
Ifugao Representative Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr., chair of the NCC said they will pressure the MGB to decide as soon as possible on the exploration permit of phase 3. He added that they will also ask MGB to act on the resolution of the provincial board calling for the revocation of Royalco’s mining permit.
He also said that the NCC will furnish the NCIP with their committee report on the investigation of Royalco’s mining permit.
Vice Chair of the Committee on Indigenous People of the Provincial Board Juan Nazaro disclosed during the said hearing that the board have passed a resolution requesting the MGB to reconsider and revoke Royalco’s permit based in 2010. He added that the provincial board have endorsed the barangay and municipal resolutions calling for the recall of the said permits to the NCIP in 2009.
“We have conducted our own inquiries and passed resolutions to the MGB and the NCIP but it seems that our recommendations are falling on deaf ears,” he added.
Bakun Mayor Marcelo Contada urged the concerned agencies to heed the call of the majority and revoke the Royalco’s exploration permit as it has been causing disunity among Gambang residents as he encouraged his constituents to take a united stand and put an end to this lingering problem.
“Isardeng tayon a tapno mapingpingsan. Agtutungtong tayo ketdi tapno saan nga datayo ti agaapa. Nu awan ti pagkaykaysa tayo awan ti pagbanbanaganna,” (Let put an end to this once and for all. Let us unite instead of fighting each other. Without unity this problem will not be solved) he stressed.
Engr. Alfredo Genetiano of the MGB during the said consultation admitted that the exploration permit is dependent of the certification precondition. He explained that the MGB can not issue an exploration or mining permit for that matter without the certification precondition issued by the NCIP.
Genetiano, however, said the revocation of the exploration permit for phase 3 must go through a process also.
“Posible, dahil nakatayo ang exploration permit sa certification precondition pero kailangan pa rin dumaan sa proseso,” (It is possible (that the exploration permit be revoked), because the exploration permit stands on the certification precondition but it (the revocation) must go through the process) he reiterated.
Earlier residents and local officicials of Gambang called for the revocation of all the permits issued to Royalco covering their community. # nordis.net