Mankayan, Benguet – Indigenous Peoples in Mankayan, Benguet, through a consensus, rejected the plan of the Cordillera Exploration Inc. (CEXCI), to explore more than 11,000 hectares of their ancestral domain.
Mankayan IPs have expressed their rejection to the mining exploration through a resolution of non-consent issued on Monday, Dec. 20. They stated that their non-approval is to safeguard the town’s remaining environmental resources, especially water, from destruction.
The resolution was issued on the same day as a result of a consensus-building, attended by IP representatives from the 12 barangays of said municipality. Seven barangays have registered their rejection, and three gave their consent while two were undecided.
The consensus is part of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process where concerned IPs are given the chance to decide whether to approve or not any projects that directly affect their ancestral land and culture.
CEXCI applied for FPIC before the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Cordillera, who facilitated the process. Under Exploration Permit Application No. 116, CEXCI ask to explore the 11,600 hectares of lands in said town.
The IP attendees explained that they are not in favor of the plan because mining involves massive drilling, excavation and soil extraction that destroys the environment and their resources.
They added that the project will also create misunderstanding among the members of the communities, lamenting their negative experiences during the Lepanto mining operation.
The town is known for its rich deposits of gold and copper.
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