Two FPIC processes have been attempted so far by the Lebach Mining Corporation (LMC) in Brooke’s Point, Palawan.
The first community assembly for the FPIC process took place on August 6-11, 2012. The second community assembly meeting took place on March 18-22, 2013.
Five (5) barangays – Ipilan, Aribungos, Barong-Bargon, Mambalot, Maasin – were surveyed by the first Community Consultative Meeting (CCA), with IPs in 3 of the barangays (Maasin, Ipilan, and Aribungos) submitting their opposition to the Palawan NCIP.
While there is no exact figure of the anti- and the pro mining supporters, a conservative estimate averages around 300 anti-mining and pro-mining attendees in every barangay. Of this number, approximately 200-250 individuals are anti-mining and about 50-100 are pro-.
With the help of Ancestral Land Domain Watch (ALDAW); Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI); and Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), Inc.; the IP leaders petitioned the Palawan NCIP to declare the FPIC as null and void after the required Pre-Condition Certificate, allegedly issued by NCIP ADO-4, was revealed to be falsified. Additionally, the FPIC process undertaken by the company had only addressed the issue of “utilization,” not of “exploration.”
The petition asks for the following:
- Declare the second Community Consultative Meeting null and void;
- Resolve the petition filed at the first CCA;
- Make the Lebach Mining Corporation to be accountable for illegal exploration using false FPIC certificate.
The follow-up CCA for the second FPIC process was held on March 18-22, 2013. It was likewise declared a “failure” due to the unresolved issues from the first CCA meeting. Here, barangay captains were faced with last-minute changes for the CCA meetings; many were unable to attend or give their consent as necessary for the FPIC. Of the 5 CCAs that occurred, only the CAA conducted in Ipilan was declared to be a failure. The barangay – whose captain was able to attend – outright refused to give consent to LMC as required for FPIC.
In Aribungos, a blackout interrupted the morning’s meeting for the FPIC and many of the participants, including the barangay captain, were unable to return for the afternoon session. The venue was private compound of Rinela Dulay, a pro-mining leader. Pro-mining delegates and Lebach miners were the vast majority who attended and the resulting FPIC was initially declared to be valid.
Likewise, barangay captain in Mambalot was unable to attend due to an unannounced last-minute location changes from a barangay hall to a private compound
In addition to these problems, the agenda from the second CCA will have to be redone as the new agenda points were inconsistent with the previous FPIC guidelines. Due to all of these concerns, the Palawan NCIP has declared the most recent FPIC petition process to be false and the Lebach Mining Corporation will be held responsible.
The NCIP did not generally declare all the second CCAs to be a “failure.”
Despite the issues that arose in March, the Provincial Officer of the NCIP continued the FPIC consultation process for documentation purposes. Analyzing the issues and concerns would be for his benefit as this knowledge would help introduce the new PO to the IP dynamics in the area along with the barangays.
In short, the CCA carried out in March 2013 would not be considered to be a second, valid CCA to be counted towards the FPIC, given the involvement of the Lebach Mining Corporation in the FPIC process.
Given the involvement of the Lebach Mining Corporation in the FPIC process, the meetings carried out in March would not be considered to be a second, valid CCA to be counted towards the FPIC.
The company will be subject to fines.