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Kalinga youth unite against destructive mining

TABUK, Kalinga — Some 200 youths in this province forged their unity to protect the Kalinga peoples’ ancestral land and resources against corporate mining in the 6th Anakbayan-Kalinga Chapter Assembly held from August 20 to 21 in this town under the theme “Salakniban ti Nailyan a Patrimonya ken Karbengan ti Daga! Paertengen ti Panagkaykaysa ti Umili laban iti Panagserrek dagiti Makakadael a Kumpanya ti Minas, Militarisasyon ken Tribal War” (Defend national patrimony and land rights! Strengthen the people’s unity against the entry of destructive mining companies, militarization and tribal war).

Some 12 Exploration Permit Applications (EXPAs) were applied for in Kalinga, one of which was already approved (Wolfland Resources Incorporation) by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), on July 30, 2004. Aside from the EXPA, applications for Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) are also being made in this province,

With these developments, Anakbayan-Kalinga anticipate militarization to ensure the smooth entry of foreign corporate mines, especially in organized communities that do not support corporate mining. According to them, they can now see the reason behind the presence of the military forces in their province.

“It is very clear that their presence in the different communities is to coerce and harass the people whom they believe is a hindrance to the entry of foreign mining projects”, the organization claimed. They also believe that corporate mining projects will not really develop their communities but rather, destroy the environment and ancestral land.

Members of Anakbayan-Kalinga are also afraid of the possible eruption of tribal wars due to mining-related issues. These kinds of tribal wars will not only revolve on issues of boundaries as has usually been the case. It is seen that conflicts among villages will arise from the entry of mining projects to the area.

The participants of the two-day activity came from the different barangays (villages), municipalities and schools in the province. The said assembly has become a venue for the participants to tackle different issues affecting the youth and students in particular. A discussion on the situation was discussed to challenge the members to take part of the action to confront the current political and economic crisis of the country. Discussions on mining, militarization and tribal war followed, which was facilitated by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).

According to the participants, the assembly has inspired old and new members to continue with their struggle to protect their ancestral land. They were also challenged to make a stand and make a mark against mining applications in their province. The said assembly ended with their solidarity night to further consolidate their ranks as indigenous youths. Samuel Anongos, CPA

Published with financial contribution from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
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