The representative of Palawan’s tribes in the provincial government declared on Thursday he is not against mining and will support any project if majority of the tribes in a given locality are in favor of it.
IP Representative Joel Lumis Jr. said that in the case of the proposed cement project in Sofronio Espanola, its realization will depend on the sentiment of the Palaw’ans in the area.
“Ako kasi hindi naman ako umaayaw sa pagmimina. Ang sa akin lang kung ano ang mas makabubuti sa mga kapatid na katutubo kung ano ba ang gusto nila. Kung pinapayagan nila, doon tayo,” Lumis said.
He said however that if there is an opposition from the Palaw’an tribes, there should be a revalidation of the documents by the involved agencies.
According to Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) in 2000, the project obtained a Certificate of Precondition (CP) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
“Depende sa mga katutubo kasi iba-iba naman ang opinyon nila. Kung may permit galing sa NCIP malamang dumaan ‘yan sa kanila pero kung inactive na at wala naman talagang pumapayag at kung dapat i-validate ulit ang mga dokumento ay gagawin natin,” he added.
Central Palawan Mining and Industrial Corp., Palawan Star Mining Ventures, Inc. and Pyramid Hill Mining and Industrial Corp. has a Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) covering ancestral areas of the tribes in the boundary of Sofronio Espanola and Quezon towns.
In 2016, the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau approved the Exploration Work Programs (ExWPs) under the first renewal of the two-year Exploration Period of the said MPSAs.
Lumis said he has not received any complaint yet from the affected tribes but added that he will support the decision of the majority.
“Noon pa kasi wala pang mga pagmimina, dito na talaga nabubuhay ang mga katutubo, pero kung ayaw nila sa mina doon tayo,” he said.