I TOGON, Benguet

Members of Simpa-Dalicno-Lolita community in Barangay Ampucao this town have requested a dialogue with Apex acquired Itogon-Suyoc Resources,Inc. (ISRI) to address several mining issues .
Based on the obtained document, the proposed dialogue will focus on the Mineral Production Sharing application (APSA 103) by ISRI with host Barangays Ampucao and Poblacion which are
greatly affected.

“The purpose of the dialogue is to foster opencommunication, enabling us to collectively address the concerns thst have arisen in relation to the proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MoA),” states on the request of the said communities. The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), ISRI and Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization ( IIPO) were given copies of the letter
request for a dialogue.

Topping the issues to be discuss but not limited to: protection of livelihoods and resources; mitigation of environmental impacts ; and sustainable development. The proposed dialogue was an offshoot of the decision by the Council of Elders of Itogon last Friday (Aug.19) to postpone the signing of MoA, supporting the Kankanaey group’s appeal through Allan Sabiano to delay in order to study draft agreement and allow them to give inputs which shall be included in the MoA.

“We believe that an open dialogue will provide an opportunity for the community members and the proponent to exchange perspectives, share information, and collaboratively work towards solutions that consider both of our community’s needs and project’s objectives.” Actually, the draft MoA
was scheduled to be signed last Friday (Aug. 19), but after hours of emergency meeting, the Council of Elders from nine barangays supported the strong appeal by SimpaDalicno- Lolita – Tangke
community in Barangay Ampucao through Allan Sabiano , president of Dontog Manganese Pocket Miners Association to delay the signing to give the group reasonable time to study and to
include in the MoA their specific concerns.

” Insufficient dissemination of information and inadequate community negotiation in Sitios Dalicno, Simpa and Lolita,” they claimed based on their petition to NCIP and IIPO. “ We, believe that our voice as indigenous cultural community has been neglected,” states in the signed petition addressed to NICP and to Rosita Bargaso, president of Itogon Indigenous People Organization (IIPO). But concerned elders in those areas claimed otherwise, much so, ISRI officials pointed
out that the “process of negotiations” were properly conducted, spanning to almost six months.

On other development, ISRI, a recipient of Safety Seal by the labor department, the first in the Cordillera region, years, the company spent almost P6 million for social development and program to its host barangays Ampucao and Poblacion and to nearby areas (Virac,Tinongdan, Dalupirip,
Ucab,Tuding,Gumatdang and Loacan). ISRI’s social development programs include community
activities/services like financial assistance for health concerns, facilities and medical
professionbals,access and support to locals schools, livelihood projects and socio cultural activities,
assistance to infrastructure development and facilities improvement.

The company also spent P41.4 million as its commitment to sustainable environmental management and protection campaign -like reforestation, slope stabilization, among others. ISRI collaborates with small scale miners through its Big Brother Small Brother (BBSB) program putting premium on underground orientation, safety and security, among others.

Primo Agatep /ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon