QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya – The provincial government reiterated to the management of FCF Minerals Development corporation, an Australian mining company conducting exploration activities in the province, to observe and comply with the agreed status quo ante in barangay Runrono, Quezon town where there should be no mining operation or activity to be conducted over the lots claimed and possessed by indigenous peoples and families while the negotiations for possible settlement over the issues are not yet terminated or concluded.
In his letter to James Carmichael, Country Manager, FCF Minerals Corp., attention to Lorne Harvey, FCF General Manager for Operations, lawyer Andrew M. Palma of the Provincial Legal Office, stated that the provincial government is mandated by law to see to it the general welfare of its inhabitants are protected, thus, the reiteration of earlier agreements reached by concerned parties on the ongoing forcible mine development being undertaken in the area.
Earlier, concerned indigenous peoples and affected families wrote the provincial government informing local officials on the incidents that transpired on the evening of May 22, 2022 involving the forcible entry by the company in their properties which had been repeated over the past several days.
Based on the photographs provided by the concerned families, these showed that the lots occupied and claimed by indigenous peoples was already levelled or bulldozed by the company’s equipment purposely for its supposed exploration or mining activity in the area.
Palma pointed out that prior to these incidents, there were two dialogues that were conducted, the first was on May 5, 2022 attended by FCF representative no less than Mr. Harvey and the concerned indigenous peoples, and it was him who reiterated to the company to observe status quo ante while the negotiation is still ongoing.
He added that the second dialogue was conducted on May 15, 2022 attended by the mining company and the IPs affected and their legal counsel where it was again reiterated no less than barangay captain Babli-ing for the company to observe status quo while the negotiation was still underway and this was recorded as an agreement by the parties for the issuance of the status quo ante order in the area.
However, the concerned IPs raised concern IPs and affected families that despite the agreement for status quo ante in the community, the mining company continues to allegedly intrude in their private properties in gross violation of the earlier agreement that casts doubts on the company’s sincerity to comply with all agreements reached during this negotiation period.
The IPs continue to provide updated photographs on the alleged violations being committed by the mining company in trying to forcibly enter into the private properties of the affected families that is why the IPs continue to seek the assistance of concerned government agencies and local governments to put a stop on the levelling and bulldozing activities being done by the company’s heavy equipment in the claimed and possessed properties.
The IPs claimed that the ongoing mine development and exploration in their private properties already inflicted heavy damages on the agricultural crops in the area that serves as their source of livelihood.