November 28, 2014

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) supports the people of Lacub, Abra in their continuing struggle to defend their ancestral domain against the impending mining destruction amidst human rights violations, threats, manipulation, use of force and deception by the Golden Lake Mineral Resources Inc. (Golden Lake), the local government of Lacub and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

In November 20, 2014, the Timpuyog ti Umili ti Lacub Bantayan Ekolohiya ken Kinabaknang (Tulbek), the local chapter of CPA in Lacub, filed their new complaint on the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) violations by the LGU Lacub and Golden Lake to the NCIP regional office. One of their main complaints is the continuing FPIC process despite the fact that the application of Golden Lake, EXPA 55-2013, was apparently denied by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). In the same complaint, Tulbek demanded NCIP to declare the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 2010 null and void of which Golden Lake and NCIP used again in November 20, 2014. Tulbek also called for a fair investigation to all the numerous complaints on the conduct of the FPIC process in their communities.

In its first written complaint in 2012, Tulbek enumerated at least 10 FPIC violations committed by the LGU of Lacub and representatives of Golden Lake. Among these grave violations are: in September 2010, Golden Lake took mineral samples (naba) in different areas in Lacub with the technical help of Philex Mining Corporation without the FPIC of the people of Lacub. The team of Golden Lake was escorted by different local government officials along with their private armies and hired armed goons. Another grave violation by the LGU of Lacub and Golden Lake was the immediate presentation of a MOA at the office of the NCIP-Abra on March 2011 without any FPIC processes conducted. The MOA was signed by the members of the Sangguniang Bayan and a bogus Council of Elders. It was also this time that Golden Lake distributed an amount of P5, 000-10,000 to the members of SB down to the barangay level.

Their earlier complaint also highlighted the grave intervention of the Lacub Mayor Estelita Bersamina and Vice Mayor Leo Barona in the manipulation, dirty tactics and bribery to force and deceive residents to allow the operation of Golden Lake. Coupled with these violations was the used of coercion and threats against vocal leaders in the communities. The presence also of elements of the 41st IBPA, armed goons and private armies displaying high-powered and sophisticated rifles in all community meetings have resulted to fear and insecurity of the communities of Lacub.

These serious violations continue to this date and are alarming. The LGU Lacub is hell bent and completely ignores the overwhelming rejection of the people of Lacub against Golden Lake. The LGU Lacub is blinded to a mouthwatering amount of an alleged P10 million worth of bridges, cemented roads and other promises by Golden Lake. Still, given the long history of warlordism, state neglect and imbedded corruption in the area, this amount will not be able to build bridges and construct roads and even other promised developments. It is only a ploy to entice people who are hungry for genuine peace and development.  Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of Golden Lake to provide bridges and roads; this is an obligation of the state to its people.

There is only one clear voice of the people of Lacub; respect their rights over their ancestral domain. Golden Lake and the LGU Lacub should stop the proposed mining project in the communities of Lacub. #

References:

Marcelo Masadao, KASTAN CPA Abra Secretary General

ATB Anongos, CPA Secretary General

Advertisements