IPs oppose Apex Mining plans to encroach on Benguet

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This article is available in Pilipino

Indigenous communities in Sitio Dalicno, Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet announced yesterday, February 13, their objection to the Application for Production Sharing Agreement 103 (APSA 103) on their ancestral land by the Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc (ISRI), a company owned by Enrique Razon Jr’s Apex Mining Corporation Inc. They say there are many irregularities in the process of obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in their community.

In a press conference led by the Dalicno Indigenous Peoples Organization (DIPO), residents exposed the NCIP’s manipulation to obtain the bogus FPIC from tribal elders. On January 29, the residents of Dalicno filed a petition to condemn the NCIP’s dismissal of the petition they filed to revoke the FCIP. They said, insufficient information was shared in the assemblies leading to the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on September 20, 2023.

“We disagree that our complaint lacks merit,” said Regina Sidor, DIPO general secretary. She said, the NCIP did not obtain the affected communities’ consent, which is the proper and practiced procedure in Itogon.

“In previous FPIC procedures, such as for the Binga Dam project and the Sal-angan Hydropower project, the decision of the elders of Itogon was based on the decision of the affected areas,” explained Sidor. But in the case of APSA 103 FPIC, only the NCIP-authorized Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization (IIPO) elders made the decision without considering the stance of the community that will directly experience the negative effects of the project, she said.

“This issue has divided the Itogon people. The Dalicno community, who organized themselves as DIPO, is dismissed as a breakaway group and treated with spite from the so-called authorized indigenous organizations. Dalicno, however, [stands] … as a legitimate stakeholder especially since their land, life, and livelihood are on the line,” the organization said

“We call on our kailian to hear us out, and to see way beyond the written rules of the FPIC. These have always been manipulated, as we see in our previous experiences,” she said. “Our home, our heritage, our lives are being threatened here, [let us not be deceived],” she said. “[Our stand against] APSA 103 is a [clear] declaration that there is no FPIC”, Sidor added.


APSA 103 will cover 581 hectares of ancestral land in the barangays of Ampucao, Poblacion, and Virac in Itogon, Benguet. The mining operations will cover the entire sityo of Dalicno, including their water sources, sacred burial grounds, schools and churches in the so-called “build-up zones.”

The people of Dalicno do not believe that the mine will not affect them just because the MOU stipulates that the “build-up zone” will be a “no mining zone” and the water resources will be in a “buffer zone”. They say the impact of mining, especially Apex Mining which owns ISRI, is evident in the recent landslide in Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro.

Like APSA, Apex’s operations cover the whole of Masara and its neighboring barangay Teresa despite its claims the landslide is one kilometer away from an “active mine.”

Regardless of the currrent claims of the company and their lawyers, their mining permit still covers the entire 581 hectares, according to Dalico people.

AB: IPs oppose Apex Mining plans to encroach on Benguet