Food security of the people in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya being threatened


KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya — Food security of indigenous peoples in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya is threatened by large-scale mining operations of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) and Oxiana-Royal Co.

At the same time, the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) brings disunity among the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) residing in the mining-affected areas.

Different organizations like the Philippine Network for the Environment (PNE)-Kalikasan, and the Regional Development Center-Katinnulong Daguiti Umili iti Amianan (RDC-Kaduami) which is a member of the EED TFIP or EED Philippine Partners for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, joined the Congressional hearing with their partner Save the Valley Environmental Alliance together with the local people organizations.

The Committee on National Cultural Communities of the House of Representatives conducted two on-site hearings and investigations in June 7-9, 2008 in Brgy. Kakidugen and Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya which are the sites of Oxiana-Royal co and Oceana Gold,respectively.

Indigenous peoples expressed their concern about the adverse impacts that these mining operations will bring to the environment and their sources of livelihood and subsistence.

“How do these mining operations address the food crisis of the people? We have been displaced from our ancestral lands in Ifugao and Benguet due to mining operations yet we are still facing the same problem here. We have witnessed the destructive impacts that these mining operations brought to the environment and we cannot allow this to happen again here. The people in these areas already have a sustainable source of livelihood than what these mining companies claim to provide upon entry of these operations,” said Lucas Buay of Kasibu Inter-Tribal Response for Ecological Development (KIRED).

The municipality of Kasibu has a wide forest area, making up about 30% of the total land area. It is proven that almost all crops except mango are suitable in this area.The primary agricultural products of the province are still rice and corn, but this gateway to the Cagayan Valley is envisioned to be the regional center for fruit and vegetable production and spice-based industries.

“We cannot let the entry of these mining companies destroy our lands as Kasibu is considered the citrus capital of the country, with an annual output of about 10 million kilograms of oranges from an estimated 20,000 hectares of citrus plantations. The citrus farmers stand by its position that agriculture is still the sustainable development for the people as our independent study on the success of citrus industry here would show. We do not want mining here,” Alfonso Namuhje II of the Mallabing Tribal Development Association (MTDP) said.

In Nueva Vizcaya, about 40% of its total population of 366,962 (based from the 2000 census) is comprised of IPs. It is home to the Bugkalots, Ifugaos, Ibalois, Gaddangs, Isinais, Ikalahans and Ilongots. Bugkalot, a group of IPs from Nueva Vizcaya, has entered into a peace covenant through a blood compact in 1950s with other IP groups who have migrated to this area after they had been driven away from their ancestral lands.

The areas stated in the mining permit granted to the mining companies are within an ancestral land claim by the Bugkalots who applied for Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC), through the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

“We were not consulted by the NCIP during the process of securing the FPIC certificate because we are only migrant IPs in the areas and we are not holders of CADC. But there was no such thing in the provisions of the IPRA that migrant IPs could not be consulted, especially that we have been here for three decades now,” Fidel Opay of the Lower Muta Valley Farmers’ Federation (LMVFF) explained.

The FPIC process is being questioned because of the bribery and deception controversies in securing the certificate. “ Our peace pact with the Bugkalot tribe is also threatened to be negated because of this conflict that arises due to these controversies,” Opay added.

Mayor Romeo Tayaban of Kasibu, who was one of the resource speakers during the hearing said, “mining operations claim that they will bring development to the people in Kasibu. What kind of development is this if our people are disunited? We were once a peaceful community, but these issues have divided us because of these operations.” # Sherry Mae Soledad(NorthernDispatch)

2 Responses to “Food security of the people in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya being threatened”

  1. Sheryl Says:

    Greetings!

    Kasibu is one of the very rich in agricultural products and it has a very wide forest area. Most of the peoples’ source of livelihood/income is from farming. And proven already that a lot of them (parents) were able to send thier children to school.
    I can still remember when I was a child, I know how hard and difficult the road is from Kasibu to Bambang. But with the help of some government officials and the citizens the road were now very accessible. This means that….. their are so many changes and improvement of the place just through the help and unity of the people before this companies of mining came here. We don’t need this mining companies just to improve our roads, schools and just for us to have a source of income. Farmers lived for long here through farming. As a matter of fact, since the time that these mining companies entered to this place we got so many problems. Relationship inside the family, the unity of people specially with the affected area was already affected and it’s even becoming worst.
    We have lived here for long years with farming as a source of income… we don’t need mining companies here. We know how terrible and what damaged these companies brought to other places and to the people who once entered by big mining companies.

    barangayrp:

    nung nasa cegp pa ako, nakapag-tour kami sa mga open-pit mining sa benguet. grabe, mas malalim pa sa uka ng buwan ang hukay na ginawa para lang sa pagmimina. sira talaga ang isang bundok at latak ang labas ng tubig.

    sana’y patuloy na tumutol ang inyong komunidad sa pagmimina dahil, magiging kaawa-awa kayo pag nagkataon. mabuhay kayo!

  2. lienad of camiguin Says:

    when i still a young boy i experienced to earned small amount of money in mining until now i istiil remember the past..but if you can really realize the effect of mining to the people of kasibu is like a desaster..you can imagin the mountains ang rivers are affected,….so it would be better to stop..kasibu is nice and beautiful place…its a pure agricultural land so why that we let this companies to continue operating?we should go forward and see the future of childrens in kasibu,…..the future kasibunians….i grew up in poblacion kasibu as farmer not a miner….

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