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PIA Press Release

Bakun IPs seek to protect their lands from mining exploration

by Andrew Doga-ong

Bakun, Benguet (6 February) -- The indigenous people of barangay Gambang this municipality want stringent measures to protect them against large mining companies.

The Bakun-Aywanan Organization and the Gambang Council of Elders on January 25 wrote the Benguet Provincial Board to follow up their earlier resolution urging the SP to adopt measures for the protection of Bakun IPs from mining companies who insist on conducting mining exploration within their ancestral domain.

The Bakun-Aywanan or Bantay ken Kinabaknang ti Umili a Nagtaudan Organization resolution was endorsed by the Gambang Barangay and Bakun Municipal Councils.

In their letter, they stated they strongly resisted all mineral exploration application in their area to include that of the Royalco Phils. Incorporated. They said they want to preserve their ancestral lands for the next generations to come.

They further stated that their strong opposition went unheeded as exploration operation went on while a Memorandum of Agreement is being worked out with few land owners who favor mineral exploration.

Their efforts to assert their rights to Free Prior Informed Consent and to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their lands and resources were not recognized, they added.

Last year, the Bakun-Aywanan also wrote National Commission Indigenous Peoples CAR Regional Director Atty. Amador Batay-an to restrain any attempt of MOA Signing with regards to the mining exploration by the Royalco, Phils. Inc.

The group urged the NCIP office to safeguard their rights as indigenous peoples from the destruction of their lands and agricultural resources brought by mining related activities saying they prefer farming as source of their sustainable livelihood for century of generations to come. (PIA) [top]

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