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Benguet board endorses mining project despite opposition

Jul 24, 2015 @ 0:18

The provincial board of Benguet has approved a new gold mining project in Mankayan town despite reported opposition by indigenous communities.

In a session, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan  voted to endorse the mining activity of Far South East Gold Resources, Inc. (FSGRI) at the Lepanto Consolidated Mining site.

The board reasoned out that “a greater majority” of the people in Mankayan gave their consent to the project.

“Even among affected barangay local government units, six out of eight affected barangays which are considered greater majority in number decided to support the project. Count among these are the resolutions or letters of endorsement from labor, business, religious, education and other civil society sectors,” the board said.

The indigenous communities of Barangay Colalo in Mankayan had presented a resolution opposing the project, saying the memorandum of agreement for the project was not “transparently and faithfully deliberated” to them.

Under the memorandum, FSGRI set aside P80 million for the socio-economic and cultural development of Mankayan’s indigenous community.

Earlier, board member Florence Tingbaoen warned that Mankayan town will soon become a “ghost town” if the municipal council will not endorse a new mining project funded by a foreign investor.

He said Mankayan, a town of 35,000 people, cannot hope to survive alone on vegetable farming considering the perceived “threats” emanating from the ASEAN integration.

Ex-officio Board Member James Guanso, who represents the Liga ng mga Barangay, said

the town’s council of elders and leaders voted overwhelmingly for the FSGR project while six barangays:  Suyoc, Poblacion, Paco, Sapid, Colalo and Cabiten have also endorsed it.

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