MAC: Mines and Communities

Benguet Dad Hits Fpic Process

Published by MAC on 2007-08-30

Benguet Dad Hits FPIC Process

Nordis -

30th August 2007

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet --- A Benguet provincial official criticized the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process conducted at Camp 3, Tuba, here for the proposed expansion of the Philex Mining Corporation saying it was railroaded.

"Based on the information that another round of consultation was set despite the claim of Camp 3 residents that they already said "No" to an earlier FPIC process proves that the process was railroaded," Itogon Councilor and Philippine Councilor's League Interim Chair Oscar Camantiles said.

Camantiles added residents of Ampucao, Itogon should also be consulted because the 98-hectare land covered by Philex special mines permit is a contested area. He said the area is part of the unsettled boundary dispute of Itogon and Tuba.

"Since the area is contested, the mining firm needs to get the nod of both municipalities not just Tuba," Camantiles said. He added due process should be followed.

Camantiles further said Ampucao barangay officials, Itogon municipal officials and the provincial board support the clamor of affected residents for the nullification of the special mines permit the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued to Philex in January.

Earlier Nordis report said Camp 3 and Ampucao residents issued a statement of rejection on April 12 refusing to issue an FPIC. The same report said the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) transmitted the resident's statement of rejection and asked for a Certificate of Non-Consent as early as May 16.

The NCIP, however, scheduled another consultation on August 14 despite the earlier and continuing opposition of affected residents. The said dialog failed due to Philex management's proposal to change the venue of the dialog.

NCIP is yet to schedule another dialog in a mutually accepted venue and date. # Kim Quitasol for NORDIS
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