• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

Defend Dalicno, Itogon from Corporate Greed and Plunder! Stop APEX-ISRI Mining Expansion!

February 14, 2024

Cordillera Peoples Alliance stands with the people of Sitio Dalicno, Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon in their struggle against the 581 hectares mining expansion project of Apex Mining's Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI).

The project will affect Barangays Ampucao, Poblacion, and Virac, with Sitio Dalicno residential areas bearing most of the impact.

Apex-ISRI has been hounding the consent of the communities through the FPIC process since 2018. In 2022, an Itogon domain-wide Resolution of Non-consent was issued but like many development aggression projects in the region, the company applied for reconsideration. The affected communities eventually said"Yes to Negotiations," which led to a tumultuous process of manipulations. Irregularities in the FPIC proceedings were observed by the Dalicno community, such as the lack of information on the community assemblies, absence of an honest and comprehensive environmental impact assessment, and misrepresentation from National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-authorized Itogon representatives. NCIP-CAR Regional Director Atanacio Addog even blatantly dismissed the pleas of the Dalicno community by calling an appeal they had submitted on September 2023 as lacking in merit.

Apex-ISRI meanwhile actively solicited endorsement resolutions from Ampucao, Poblacion, and Virac barangay officials. Their legal representatives are also those behind Pan Pacific, the company proposing a cascade of dams, Gened Dams included, along the Apayao-Abulug river. It is no surprise then if Apex-ISRI is following the dirty tactics of Pan Pacific.

Further, the issue is causing a divide among the community. The Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization (IIPO) is actively asserting that the FPIC process had been followed accordingly and that the concerns of the affected areas had already been addressed. However, the fact that the Dalicno community is still registering their opposition should be enough to say that there is no consent.

Dalicno is now fighting for their survival. In 2007, they successfully defended their community against multinational firm Anvil's attempt to develop the ISRI's mines, the same mines Apex is developing now. Armed with this legacy of resistance, they are committed to continue this struggle for land, life, and honor.

We condemn the NCIP and Apex-ISRI for isolating the community of Dalicno and for fast-tracking the FPIC process. We call on Apex-ISRI to keep their hands off what's left of Itogon amid decades of large-scale mining. We note how Apex and the government is denying their accountability in the recent killer landslide that happened recently in Maco, Davao de Oro. This narrative is not new to the people of Itogon who are time and time again victims of landslides and ground subsidence brought by large-scale mining. What then can we expect from Apex should another disaster happen along the areas surrounding their operations?

We call on the Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization (IIPO) to heed the calls of Dalicno, and once again unite in struggle, in honor of Itogon's vibrant militant history against resource plunder.

We ask for the solidarity of all indigenous peoples' rights and environmental advocates. Dalicno may be a small town, but their victory in stopping a large-scale mining expansion will be a lasting contribution to our shared quest for sustainability, democracy, and sovereignty.

For Reference:
Ned Tuguinay
Public Information Officer