THE indigenous Kankanaey community of Bulalacao in Mankayan is staging a stand-off against a mining company that is attempting to explore the area for minerals without their consent.
The community has set up a mountainside barricade despite the government having issued a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) for Crescent Mining and Development Corporation (CMDC).
The barricade, set up on June 18, was set up by Bulalacao residents, who said that they have not given their consent to the mining operations. The barricade remains, even as CMDC lawyers threatened legal action against the indigenous folk, claiming significant delays and damages caused by the barricade.
The CMDC initially had a 25-year MPSA issued in November of 1996, which expired in November of 2021. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) subsequently issued another 25-year MPSA to CMDC.
According to MGB Cordillera Regional Director Faye Apil, the office endorsed the MPSA renewal, citing National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Cordillera Regional Director Atanacio Addog providing “no objection” to the issuance of such as long as CMDC committed to complete the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) process.
The Kankanaey community in Bulalacao subsequently issued a resolution questioning the issuance of MPSA without FPIC, claiming that the NCIP did not issue a Certificate of Pre-Condition, as well as claiming that the CMDC entered the community without consent of the locals and only entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the private landowners, not the community.
Addog has since asked Winfredo Moncano, chief of MGB, to recall the MPSA issued to CMDC and to recognize the opposition of the local community.