QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya – Concerned and alarmed indigenous peoples of barangay Runruno here vehemently denounced the alleged illegal demolition of their dwellings by the controversial FCF Minerals Development Corporation at the height of the ongoing negotiations between the company and the affected ancestral land owners in the area.
The alleged illegal demolition of the illegal structures owned by legitimate claimants and members of the indigenous peoples that inhabited the area since time in memorial was documented in a number of police blotters reported by the affected landowners in preparation for the filing of a battery of cases against the company and personnel of various government agencies that reportedly served as security personnel in the demolition process.
The said demolition activities by the mining company were done on February 28 and March 1, 2023 as evidenced by the police blotter reports of Lando Guillao and Santo Guillao as well as spouses Jenalyn and Don Felix Guillao.
The affected IPs expressed their surprise and disappointment in the sudden demolition of their well-established structures within their ancestral claim which was done even as there were no agreements that were reached between them and their company on the compensation for the affected properties of the claimants which is within the ancestral domain of the Gaddangs as earlier certified by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the province.
According to the complaints, aside from their structures which were constructed through their hard earned money, company employees with their security escorts allegedly destroyed the agricultural crops and other plants in their properties during that time.
The complainants questioned FCF Minerals Development Corporation for pursuing the alleged illegal demotion of their structures and improvements when no agreement was yet reached for the proposed compensation of only PhP3 million for their 70 hectares property to include agricultural crops and improvements as the same is not acceptable to them as it is like giving away their properties that they had inherited from their ancestors.
The sources stipulated that the illegal demotion of their structures is just another ploy of the mining company to harass them so that they will give in to their proposed compensation which is not acceptable to them in the first place, thus, the need for the conduct of further negotiations until such time that a ‘win-win’ solution will be achieved.
The ongoing rift between the IPs and the mining company on the compensation of the affected properties had been the subject of a series of public hearings conducted by the provincial board last year but no concrete solutions were agreed upon because of the alleged refusal of the company to realize that the area that is part of their supposed patented mining claims is part of the Gaddang ancestral land as established by the NCIP.
The IPs called on human rights advocates to look into the abuses committed by the mining company in the alleged illegal demolition of their structures and the unwarranted damage inflicted on their source of livelihood as these implemented through the assistance of employees from various government offices in the Cagayan Valley which is obviously against public norms and standards.