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February 27, 2009
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GAMBANG, Bakun (February 22)-The Kankanaey indigenous peoples of Bakun here in Benguet province are strengthening still their community efforts against Australian mining company Royalco Minerals, which has applied for exploration in some 5,000 hectares of the said peoples' ancestral domain. Recently, through their organization BAKUN AYWANAN (Defend and Nurture Bakun), Resolution No.2 series of 2009, totally rejecting all mining exploration applications in Bakun including further intrusion of Royalco and entry of other large mines.

This resolution was endorsed by the Gambang Barangay Council chaired by Paquito Alvaro, Bakun Mayor Marcelo B. Contada and Provincial Governor Nestor Fongwan. The resolution was also personally delivered to the provincial and regional offices of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) by Mayor COntada, Brgy. Captain Paquito Alvaro and BAKUN AYWANAN Representative Ernesto Soriben.

In February 22, BAKUN AYWANAN was further strengthened with the affiliation 7 people's organizations in the said municipality. The 7 representatives of the said organizations proudly raised their hands in affirming the BAKUN AYWANAN's Basis of Unity, which was presented by Vergel Aniceto, Spokesperson of the Benguet Mining Alert and Action Network (BMAAN), of which BAKUN AYWANAN is also affiliated with.

The oath taking was facilitated by Mayor Contada, assisted by Brgy. Captain Paquito and Mario Layugan, Head of the Council of Elders. This was witnessed by almost 180 residents and local government officials from different sitios of Gambang and nearby barangays. The oath taking was followed by a message of solidarity by CPA Vice Chairperson for Internal Affairs Xavier Akien.

BAKUN AYWANAN's Council of Leaders and Officers also underwent leadership training under the CPA's Indigenous Community Organizing and Leadership Training (ICOLT) program last January 16 and in February 9. #

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