BAGUIO CITY — Fears of adverse effects on water sources, small-scale mining activities, livelihood, and the safety of people and properties are issues that continued to set back the Application for Production Sharing Agreement (APSA 103) by mining firm Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI) in Itogon, Benguet. 

At last week’s scheduled signing of the memorandum of agreement (MoA), indigenous peoples (IPs) of Dalicno, Simpa and Lolita in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, once again rejected the document, claiming no adequate consultations have merited their approval. 

An earlier petition to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization (IIPO) insisted that sitios are part of the areas inside the ancestral domain of Itogon which are covered by the APSA 103 of ISRI. 

But former Itogon Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Romeo Pocding, now a council of elders of the IIPO, claimed that ample consultations were conducted with affected residents about APSA 103 and that the process of getting their consent was done all above board. 

The conduct of an FPIC (Free and Prior Informed Consent) with the physical presence of the IPs of the community affected by the ISRI project is required, under the NCIP rules, prior to the issuance of a certification. — Artemio A. Dumlao