Runruno mine site within Gaddang domain – NCIP
BY DEXTER A. SEE
The Manila Times
QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya: The provincial office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) disclosed that Barangay Runruno, here, which is part of the mining exploration area of the London-based FCF Minerals Development Corp., forms part of the domain claimed by the Gaddang indigenous cultural communities–indigenous peoples (ICCsIPs) covering the towns of Bayombong, Solano, Villaverde, Bagabag, Diadi, and this municipality. NCIP OIC provincial officer Roderick Alquin said in a certification that the total land area covered by the domain of the Gaddang IPs is more or less 75,000 hectares. Alquin claimed two parcels of land in the name of Toledo Guillao et al. and Bella Guillao, with an aggregate total land area of 751,943 square meters (sqm) and 70,156 sqm, respectively, as surveyed by Engr. Antonio Abyado on April 18 to 30, 1996, located in the application. Under existing rules and regulations governing the domain of IPs, applicants for the conduct activities for the exploitation, utilization, and development of the State’s rich resources that are within the domain must first secure the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the domain holders. However, in the case of the Gaddang IPs of Runruno, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) reportedly issued a certificate of nonoverlap stating, among others, that the area is being applied for by the mining company for its exploration activities is not within the domain of IPs. But in the advent that it will be discovered in the future that the mining exploration area is within the domain of IPs, FCF Minerals Development Corp. is required to secure the consent of the Gaddang IPs through the FPIC process. Concerned IPs had been raising concerns about the continuous destruction of portions of their domain through the exploration and drilling operation of the mining company which violates the provisions of Republic Act 8371 or the “Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.” The law mandates companies intending to exploit, utilize, and develop the State’s resources to secure the free and prior informed consent of the affected IPs through the prescribed process. The affected IPs urged the NCIP central office to issue a cease and desist order to stop the mining company from conducting activities in their mining area, which they now regard as part of their ancestral domain.