December 2, 2023

Elders and leaders of the ancestral domain of Mankayan, Benguet have issued a resolution of non-consent to the proposed mining exploration of the Cordillera Exploration, Inc. (CEXCI).

The resolution was issued following the consensus with majority votes from the 12 barangays disallowing the project in the municipality.

Barangays Cabiten, Balili, Bulalacao, Colalo, Guinaoang, Tabio, and Taneg voted “no” while barangays Palasaan, Bedbed, and Poblacion voted “yes.”

Barangays Sapid and Paco were undecided.

The consensus, held on Dec. 20, was part of the free prior and informed consent process undertaken CEXCI to determine whether or not the proposed mining project shall be accepted by the concerned indigenous cultural communities (ICC)/indigenous peoples.

“We need to protect the remaining environment and resources of Mankayan, especially water; (and there are) negative experiences regarding the operation of Lepanto such as the claim that our land is part of its mining patent,” the resolution stated.

The elders stated they oppose the project because mining exploration is not separate from mining operation and that mining creates division and conflict among the ICCs.

CEXCI’s proposed mining exploration project in Mankayan is denominated as EXPA 116-CAR.

CEXCI also has an exploration permit over the Manmanok property in Apayao; an application for exploration permit over the Kutop property in Abra; and an application for Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement also in Mankayan. – Ofelia C. Empian