Baay Licuan Communities
Step Up Fight Vs. Olympus Mines in Abra
communities in Baay-Licuan, Abra province stepped up their opposition
to the operations of Canadian mining company Olympus Pacific Minerals.
Olympus was found to have violated
the indigenous communities right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
(FPIC), according to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Olympus conducted exploration activities
in Capcapo, part of the Binongan peoples' ancestral domain, without
securing their FPIC. Olympus has locally partnered with Abra Mining
and Industrial Co. (AMIC) and Jabel Mining.
A tide of petitions has come from the affected communities reiterating
that from the start, they never agreed to any exploration activity
in Capcapo, where Olympus has started drilling in February 2007.
Despite community opposition supported by petitions given to the
NCIP regional office in March and July 2007, Olympus carried on
drilling and only stopped when NCIP-CAR ordered it on August 30,
The said report qualifies that Olympus
has grossly violated the rights of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous
peoples over their ancestral domain and failed to comply with the
requirements under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) or RA
8371 and NCIP Administrative Order No.1, S. 2006.
The indigenous communities have organized
themselves into Baay Licuan Intay Salakniban (BLIS ) and Baay Licuan
Takderan Omnu a Karbengan (Balitok) while sustaining their campaign
against Olympus and the entry of other large mines in their territories.
Meanwhile, Olympus is complying with
requirements of the FPIC process as a result of the protests. It
is set to consult in the following barangays of Baay Licuan from
April 1-19: Lenneng, Bunglo, Poblacion, Caoayan, Dominglay, Mogao,
Bulbulala, Tumalip, Nalbuan,and Subagan.
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Secretary
General Windel Bolinget maintains that Olympus should already desist
from further activities in the area as the communities have already
concretely stated their opposition to the project.
"The CPA will continue to support the Baay Licuan communities
in their struggle to defend their ancestral domain from destructive
projects," he said.
Also, CPA staff and community leaders
in Brgy. Poblacion doing ground preparations for the 24th Cordillera
Day reported cases of harassment from elements of the 41st IB as
they are maliciously tagged as members of the New People's Army
(NPA). "Branding organizations and community
leaders as NPAs makes them open targets of the AFP, giving them
a license to attack and violate the rights of civilians and communities
whose activities and opposition to defend their lives, ancestral
domain and resources is but just and legitimate," Bolinget
ended.# AT Bengwayan/Cordillera Peoples Alliance Public Information