QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya – Members of the gadding indigenous peoples (IPs) in the municipality prodded the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cagayan Valley to issue the required cease and desist order (CDO) against a British mining company, FCF Minerals Development corporation, to prevent further damages to their ancestral domain which is now being allegedly destroyed by ongoing mine exploration and drilling operations.
In their letter to NCIP Region II regional director Ronald M. Daquioag, the IPs argued that it cannot be simply brushed aside that they are members of the Gaddang indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) belonging to the different ethno-linguistic group of Northern Luzon.
The IPs pointed out that by this alone, the NCIP, being the vanguard of the IP rights cannot be of any conscience, outrightly state that their earlier request is patently lack of factual and legal mooring.
Further, the NCIP report that denied the issuance of a cease and desist order against the controversial mining company evidently favors FCF Minerals Development Corporation.
The IPs claimed that the alleged certifications of non-overlap issued in 1999 and in 2007are surely not without exemption as the same stated that it is without prejudice to later findings that the land being currently explored and drilled by the mining company is within or covered by an application for issuance of a certificate of ancestral land title or certificate of ancestral domain title by the indigenous peoples occupying the said area.
However, in a certification dated July 25, 2022 issued by the NCIP OIC-Provincial Officer stated that barangay Runruno in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya form part of the on process ancestral domain claim by the Gaddang indigenous cultural communities-indigenous peoples covering the municipalities of Bayombong, Solano, Villaverde, Bagabag, Diade and Quezon with an approximate total land area of more or less 75,000 hectares.
Moreover, the NCIP provincial office certified that 2 parcels of lands in the name of Toledo Guillao et al. and Bella Bulilao with an aggregate total land area of more or less 75,943 square meters and 70,156 square meters, respectively, as surveyed on April 15-30, 1996 located in barangay Runruno, quezon is inside the said CADT application.
The IPs asserted that the lands under their names is clearly within the CADT application of the Gaddang IPs, thus, under NCIP en banc Resolution NO. 08-017-2021, the regional office is obliged to issue compulsory processes to stop or suspend any project that has not satisfied the consultation process and the requirements of free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the affected IPs such as in the case of FCF Minerals Development Corporation.
Earlier, the NCIP en banc authorized and confirmed the authority of its regional directors to issue cease and desist orders to any private individuals, entities or corporations, above premises duly considered.
The IPs explained that the issuance of a cease and desist order by the NCIP in the Cagayan Valley is a compulsory process under the aforesaid resolution and the same is without any qualification and interpretation as it was worded with clarity and specificity.
While the IPs appreciate the intervention of the ethnographic Commissioner in the aforesaid concern, they observed that they were not given the opportunity to voice their claims and concerns, only the FCF Minerals Development Corporation and other non-concerned parties were heard on the said sensitive and controversial issue.
According to them, it is still imperative for the NCIP region 2 to issue the required cease and desist order against FCF Minerals Development Corporation unless and until a certificate pre-condition has been issued or unless a consultation with the aggrieved ancestral domain owners had been conducted to the satisfaction of the ICCs-IPs.
The IPs accused the mining company of allegedly blatantly disregarding the claims of legitimate IPs in the area as it continued with its mine exploration and drilling activities within the land subject of the protest causing millions of pesos worth of damages to their agricultural crops and structures that were erected in the land that they had been occupying since time in memorial.
Under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), companies intending to exploit, develop and utilize the riche resources of the State that are within the ancestral domain of indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples must first secure the free and prior informed consent of the ancestral domain holders before pursuing the same.