Issue of May 13, 2018

70th Courier Anniversary Issue
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NCIP asked to look into claim vs Philex’s permit to quarry
by BMC release

The National Commission on Indi-genous Peoples-Cordillera director has been asked to look into the request of an indigenous peoples group petitioning the continued earthmoving activities of Philex Mining Corp. in Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet for lack of free prior and informed consent.

Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, in his letter dated May 2, asked NCIP-Cordillera Director Ronald Calde to state his opinion on the request of the Damsteam Indigenous Group of Ampucao for the cancellation of the quarrying permit issued to Philex Mines.

Pacalso also forwarded the petition of the indigenous peoples group which stated among others the request for the cancellation of the quarrying permit, as the quarrying and backfilling activities of Philex Mines through its contractors will further elevate the mine’s tailings storage facility 3 (TSF3) up to 640 meters.

The group said the backfilling of offset-dike extension and land bridge of TSF3 of Philex Mines, including the spillway, is being conducted without the proper consent of the affected group.

The group added that the activities are being carried out without the renewal of the mine’s special land use permit and not covered by any mineral production sharing agreement, which to the group is a violation of the rights of indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities.

The group led by Erich Pitelan, in a separate letter to Calde, urged the NCIP director to be fair in dealing with concerns of IPs/ICCs.

The group was referring to earlier reports quoting the NCIP of requesting the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement of Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Company, Inc. for alleged violation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act.

NCIP noted in its letter to the MGB that no compliance certificate/certification was issued to Macawiwili for its mining exploration and related mining activities in the Itogon ancestral domain.

The IP group protesting the activities of Philex in Ampucao urged the NCIP to also look into their concerns, not only of the IPs/ICCs affected by the Macwiwili mines.

Last month, Philex Mines has asked a Benguet court to cite in contempt the Damstream Indigenous Group for barricading its TSF3.

Philex earlier asked the Benguet court to order the respondents to keep a distance of at least 10 kilometers from the TSF3 and its open spillway.

A Benguet court has earlier issued a temporary restraining order against the group of Pitelan.

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