Residents of Dalicno, Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet have expressed their opposition to the proposed mineral processing and sharing agreement (MPSA) with Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI).
ISRI is attempting to acquire an MPSA covering 581 hectares, which happens to cover Sitio Dalicno which has 2,400 registered residents.
There is a three-party memorandum of (MOA) agreement that representatives of Dalicno residents and ISRI have signed, but the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as the third party is yet to sign.
Should the MPSA push through, ISRI would be allowed to exploit the land for mineral resources for a minimum of 25 years, extendable through further agreements to 50 years.
However, Dalicno elders have approached the municipal government seeking to rescind their approval of the MOA, which has continued to proceed despite local resistance from residents of Sitio Dalicno and Ampucao, both of which are included in the MPSA.
A majority of the Ampucao residents, particularly those whose households and properties were within the three sitios, claimed late last year to be insufficiently informed as the negotiations through general assemblies and meetings were inadequate. To their knowledge, they were still in the process of consultation between ISRI and those concerned, whereas the MPSA had already moved to the MOA phase and signing. Dalicno residents have since claimed the same.
Dalicno residents in August and September 2023 brought up lapses in the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) procedures conducted with regards to the MPSA of ISRI. However, NCIP Regional Director Atanacio Addog dismissed the petitions in a recent resolution released on January 3, 2024, for “lack of merit,” also denying the expunging of the indicated “No Mining Zones” from ISRI’s applied area, which are built-up areas.
With NCIP Cordillera having transmitted the FPIC report for review to the NCIP Commission en banc (CEB), which will issue certification precondition (CP), required to proceed with the MPSA, the residents of Dalicno and the affected areas have also filed opposing petitions before the central office of the NCIP.