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acknowledgmentsFoundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE)

Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera/New WorldSiemenpuu Foundation

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a publication of the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM)

*KARAYAN is an Ilocano term meaning”river.”

Environment Watch:

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Cover and layoutMilena Espiritu Roque

Copy editing and publication managementAudrey Mary Beltran

Northern Media and Information Network, Inc.


All rights reserved.STARM holds the right to the content of this publication. The

publication may be cited in part or reproduced as long as STARM isproperly acknowledged as the source and STARM is furnished

copies of the final work where the quotation or citation appears.

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Preface*Filipino people’s water code—8

Introduction*Mining in Philippine history—14

Chapter 1*Profile of the Abra River—26*Biological environment (flora and fauna) of the Abra River—32

Chapter 2*Effects of corporate mining on the Abra River system (2002 report)—48*Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples—61*Quick facts and figures—63*The new gold rush era—64*Cyanide: gold’s killing companion—65*Facts on Rio Tinto Zinc—66*Lepanto Mining in Mankayan—67*Environmental Investigatory Mission documents continuing environment damage caused by Lepanto (2004 re-port)—78

Chapter 3*Lepanto and its Teresa Project dooms the people—84*The Mineral Action Plan—91*The struggle continues—95

Chapter 4*Health profile of communities living near corporate gold mining operations in Mankayan, Benguet—98*Health indices—108*Health effects of selected heavy metals and chemicals—124

Annexes*Communities along Abra River—128*General Profile: Abra—134*General Profile: Benguet—136*General Profile: Ilocos Sur—138*General Profile: Mountain Province—140*Photo Credits—142


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STARM CONVENORS:Ugnayan ng Pahinungod and Extension Services, University of the PhilippinesBaguioCenter for Environmental Education and Sustainable Development, University ofNorthern PhilippinesUnited Church of Christ in the PhilippinesCommunity Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region(CHESTCORE)Maryknoll Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of CreationSVD Justice and Peace ProgramAccion Contra el HambreAlliance of Concerned TeachersDADAPILAN (Center for Ilokano Studies)KALIKASAN People’s Network for the EnvironmentMakabayang Samahan Para sa Kalikasan at sa Bayan (Masakbayan), IlocosRegionIndigenous Peoples Apostolate, Diocese of BanguedAbra Human Rights AdvocatesMissionary Sisters of MaryANAKBAYAN-AbraKASTAN (Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan)Bangued Diocesan Youth MinistryMontanosa Research and Development CenterNational Council of Churches in the Philippines-Northern LuzonRegional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD)Tebtebba FoundationAlyansa Dagiti Pesante iti Taeng-Cordillera (APITTAKO)Cordillera People’s Alliance

Write or email today to register as a network member:c/o CHESTCORE at Resurrection Cathedral Compound, 362 Magsaysay Avenue, BaguioCity PHILIPPINES 2600 Email: [emailprotected]: http://www.abrenian.com/starm

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PreambleWater is life. More than anything else, people need waterto physically survive. Further, people need water for abetter quality of life – for sanitation, for food production,for production of basic needs, for leisure, and more.

The Philippines has abundant water resources, muchmore than Thailand, China, or India. Access to potablewater should not be a problem for its people but themajority of the people face water scarcity, which willincrease further in the near future.

Over and above problems of environmental conservation,over-consumption, and degradation of water resources,the people face a fundamental problem of inequity inaccess to water whether for individual household use orfor livelihood as irrigation for farmers or aquaticresources for fishing.

Now the Filipino people face an even greater danger asneo-liberal policies of privatization, deregulation, andliberalization are being implemented in various sectors,including the water sector of the country. Water supplyinfrastructure like dams, and water utilities and servicesare turned over to global transnational corporations(TNCs) and their local partners.

Consequently, water has become a commodity for TNCprofit. Water resources are now under the control ofcorporations and allocated for their needs instead offulfilling the basic human needs for water by the people.As a result of their commercial priorities and increase inwater rates, the poor and marginalized sectors thatcomprise the majority of the people are principallyvictimized and lose access to water.

Statement of principles1 . As water is most essential to life, the right to water is

an extension of the basic human right to life. Every

Filipino and every human being has a fundamental,inalienable right to clean, potable, sufficient waterfor survival and sanitation.1

2 . Water is part of our national patrimony and shouldnever be subject to exploitation for foreign, privateinterests.

3 . Water should be treated as a people’s resource,allocated mainly for the basic needs of the people’ssurvival and livelihood.

4 . As a public good, water should remain in the publicdomain, and conservation of freshwater ecosystems,prevention of over-consumption and degradation ofwater systems, and protection of watersheds as apublic and government responsibility, and theprovision of water services as responsibility ofgovernment.

5 . In the allocation of water resources, there should bepreferential treatment and positive action for thepoor and marginalized sectors.

6 . In the conservation of water resources, the ancestraldomains of indigenous communities and nationalminorities must be given precedence.

7 . In the conservation and development of waterresources and provision of water services,community management should be promoted.

Conservation and rehabilitation of waterresources and freshwater ecosystems1 . Sustainable, pro-people policies and programs to

conserve freshwater ecosystems should be put inplace. Consequently, corporate logging, large-scalecorporate mining and similar large-scale corporate

the filipino people’s water code

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exploitation of natural resources as well as largedevelopment projects that destroy freshwaterecosystems must be terminated.

2 . Effective conservation and rehabilitation programsfor freshwater resources and ecosystems such aslakes, rivers, wetlands, groundwater and the likemust be implemented, and renewable freshwatersupply developed.

3 . Degradation and pollution of water systems by largeindustrial concerns, large-scale mining, export zonesand industrial estates, military bases and camps,water transport systems and the like must beimmediately stopped.

4 . Because of its particular devastating impact on theecosystem, the policy and program for large-scaledams must be terminated.

Development and management of sustain-able and pro-people water supply infra-structure1 . A new paradigm for infrastructure development for

water supply management must be developed andthe current paradigms that is premised on large-scale dams that require large investment throughofficial development assistance (ODA) loans andglobal TNCs participation and control must be ended.

2 . In particular, small-scale hydropower systems andcommunity-based and controlled irrigation andwater supply systems must be developed as theoverall alternative.

3 . Large-scale water supply systems for denselypopulated areas like Metro Manila and Metro Cebushould maximize and develop available renewablewater supply based on a rational allocation andsustainable utilization of resources.

4 . Multi-purpose infrastructure development projectsfor lakes, river systems, and wetlands should notdramatically alter or destroy ecosystems nor divertutilization of water resources towards the few.

Water services/utilities is the responsibilityof government and privatization must bereversed1 . Institute a policy of public control and management

of all water infrastructure, utilities, and servicessuch as dams, irrigation systems, hydropower plants,and public water services at various levels ofgovernment down to municipal or barangay level.

2 . Government should dismantle, take over ornationalize, as appropriate, the control of privatecompanies over any or all aspects of operations ofwater-related infrastructure and water services.

3 . Government water services must be premised on fullrespect and realization of workers’ rights and welfare.

4 . Water as a public good must be upheld. End thecommodification of water and water services, suchas the promotion of bottled water as basic source ofdrinking water or regularization of water servicefees.

Effectively provide water for people’s use1 . The people’s interests must be upheld at all times in

all matters related to water. In the developmentand allocation of water resources, publicconsumption must be the paramount concern.

2 . Ensure access to water for all, especially the poorand marginalized. Provide safe and potable cleanrunning water for all households, urban or rural.

3 . User fees for water services to households must bescrapped and instead a socialized fee structure thatcharges for water use beyond basic householdconsumption should be put in place.

Develop and manage irrigation and pro-mote genuine agrarian reform, as well asfreshwater aquatic resources with prefer-ence for small fisherfolk1 . Conservation, rehabilitation, and management of

freshwater resources such as lakes and rivers should

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aim to develop aquatic resources to support thelivelihood of small fisherfolk, peasants, indigenouspeoples, and other marginalized sectors.

2 . Regulation of quaculture must be rationallyimplemented so that it does not marginalize smallfisherfolk, while programs should be developed topromote aquaculture livelihood for small fisherfolk.

3 . Municipal/community managed irrigation systemsmust be developed on a massive scale in order todevelop productivity in agriculture while assuringsustainability and peasant and farmer participation.2

4 . The prevalent practice of user fees and otherpayments or charges for irrigation must be endedand the policy preference for large irrigation systemsthat require user fees while destroying ecosystemsand dislocating farmers and livelihood should beterminated.

This paper was adopted by 369 participants (from 128 organizations nationwide) to the First National People’s Convention on Water last August 10-11, 2004, TheFilipino people’s water code outlines the people’s aspirations on water. It provides an alternative paradigm to private, foreign corporations-led development,management, and operation of water resources and services. It enumerates guiding principles for implementing pro-people policies and programs on water services,water supply infrastructure management, and water resource utilization.

1 Right here refers restrictively to human right and not corporate ownership rights or water rights.2 Sustainability here refers restrictively to the water system’s capability to replenish itself and not the World Bank-defined sustainabledevelopment.

Promote democratic governance in watersupply management and water services1 . Consultation of affected communities and sectors

must be ensured in the design and conceptualizationof water supply infrastructure, and theirparticipation must be ensured in every step of theimplementation of such projects.

2 . Consultation and participation of affected sectorsmust be ensured in the operations and policyformulation of water services and utilities.

3 . Transparency and accountability in financing andmanagement of projects in the water sector must beensured. Collusion between governmentbureaucrats/agencies and corporation involved inconstruction and water services should be ended andall forms of graft and corruption must beinvestigated and punished.

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mining in philippine history:focus on the cordillera experience

Mining has had a long history in the Philippines. Small-scale mining has been practiced by Philippine peoples forat least ten centuries, and large-scale mining by foreignas well as Filipino firms for about a century.

Little is known, though, about Philippine mining priorto the coming of the Spanish colonialists in the 16th


In the time of the Spanish colonialsubjugation of the PhilippinesUpon their arrival in the islands, the Spanish colonialistswere dazzled by the gold jewelry they saw, worn inabundance, as normal attire, by peoples whom theythought to be primitive. They did not know that as earlyas the 10th century, these supposedly primitive peopleshad been participating in an Asian trade in which goldfigured as both a commodity and a medium of exchange.

Many Philippine peoples in fact did a lot of goldwork. Butamong those who developed an expertise in goldsmithing,only the Visayans also engaged in gold mining.

The goldsmiths of Pampanga, in Central Luzon, derivedtheir raw material from placer miners who worked thebanks of rivers that had their headwaters on the Caraballomountains. But goldsmiths on the Caraballo themselvesderived their material from lode and placer miners whoworked an area located between the Agno and Bued riverson the Cordillera mountains. The gold from this areawas reputedly the best in all of Luzon.

Juan de Salcedo, said to be the last of the great Spanishconquistadores, hungered after this gold. He had exactedtribute in gold from traders in Mindoro and miners inParacale, and sought to do the same in Northern Luzon.

After circling the entire northern coastline, he returnedto Manila in 1574 with 50 pounds of gold. Stillunsatisfied, he attempted to reach the Cordillera goldmines in 1576 but died during the expedition.

Like Salcedo, other Spaniards collected tribute in goldfrom the Philippine communities that they subdued.Also, once they had established their rule over most ofLuzon and the Visayas, they declared that they wouldcollect a 20% tax – the King’s Fifth – on all gold productionwithin their territory.

By the start of the 17th century, the looting, tribute-collection, and imposition of the King’s Fifth haddiscouraged most Philippine natives from mining gold,working it, and trading in it. The case of the Ygolot lodeand placer miners of the Cordillera was a rare exception.

In the unsubjugated CordilleraUsing the advantages afforded them by the ruggedterrain and harsh climate of the region, the Ygolotes – orIgorot; literally, those of the mountains – repulsed severalSpanish attempts to take control of their area andpossession of their mines. In 1624, a bold and intelligentveteran of conquest, Don Alonso Martin Quirante,succeeded in defeating the armed resistance they put upagainst his contingent of 1,908 men. But Quirante wasdisappointed by the sorry results he obtained when hetried to recover gold from ore his men dug out of fiveIgorot mines they had found in a place called Antamok,in what is now the municipality of Itogon.

In 1759, the Igorot suffered a second defeat in the handsof 1,375 troops armed with rifles and artillery. But theseIgorot had organized two lines of defense – the first atTonglo, along their trade route to the lowlands, and the

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second at Acupan, the location of their richest gold mines.The Tonglo defense fell, but not without forcing theSpanish troops to deplete their supply of ammunitionand so prevent them from proceeding to Acupan.

The Spanish colonial authorities had decided on thepunitive attack of 1759 in a bid to end the Igorot defianceof a ban on their trade with lowlanders. That defiancepersisted. By the start of the 19th century, the Igorotwere not just trading illegally in gold; they and otherCordillerans were also undermining a monopoly that theSpanish colonial government wanted to establish in theproduction and trade of tobacco. And not only were theydealing in contraband tobacco; Igorot were alsocirculating counterfeit copper coins. Fed up with themountain peoples’ incessant disruption of the colonialeconomy in the Northern Luzon lowlands, the Spaniardslaunched a decade-long punitive campaign to bring theIgorot under control.

Later, in a partially subdued BenguetThe campaign began in 1829. Spanish troops under thecommand of Don Guillermo Galvey crossed the Cordillerasouth to north and west to east, mercilessly sheddingblood, burning fields, razing houses, and dispersingcommunities. Many of these communities put up aresistance but mostly lost to Galvey and his troops. By1840, enough of them had at least been neutralized suchthat the Spaniards could start establishing politico-military commandancies in the Cordillera.

It was thus as a fairly subdued population that, in 1856,Igorot agreed to have a Spanish company open andoperate mines in the area which is now known as themunicipality of Mancayan. The object of this company’sinterest was not gold but copper.

The Spaniards had known about copper in the Cordillerafor some time. In the 18th century, they had noted thatcopperware was among the items lowlanders purchasedfrom Igorot who descended from Mancayan to Ilocos. Andearly in the 19th century, as already mentioned, theyhad had to reckon with the circulation of counterfeitcopper coinage whose origins they traced to these Igorot.In 1833, colonial authorities in Manila had shipped toSpain large naval spikes made of Igorot copper. Between

1840 and 1855, Spanish businessmen in Ilocos hadpurchased 177,000 pesos worth of copper from the Igorotof the Mancayan area.

In 1850, the colonial authorities in Manila sent a miningengineer to Mancayan with 71 troops, to examine thecopper mines there. The engineer observed the Igorot ofthe area opening a mine by means of hydraulic booming.He also observed some mining and copper smelting. Itwas probably his report which informed the decision of agroup of Spanish businessmen to venture to Mancayan,secure a sort of mining concession from the Igorot there,and, in 1856, launch the operations of the SociedadMinero-Metalurgica Cantabro-Filipina de Mancayan with120 Chinese immigrant workers and a Mexican smelter.

The Sociedad’s operations became famous for theirinefficiency. Their low productivity and high productioncosts – due in part to large expenditures on the transportof supplies from the lowlands – so troubled the colonialauthorities in Manila that in 1863, they sent acommission to Mancayan to find out what was wrong.


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In 1875, the Sociedad folded up its operations. Most of itsChinese employees stayed on in Mancayan and, togetherwith some of the indigenous Igorot, made a good incomefrom reworking mine wastes that the Sociedad had leftbehind.

Perhaps the Igorot’s “selecting the richest ore” made allthe difference between their and the Sociedad’s coppermining operations. Selective ore extraction –documented but unremarked on by Quirante two-and-half centuries earlier – was also probably the secretbehind Igorot success in gold mining and commerce.

At the end of Spanish RuleThe chief motivation for engaging in this commerce hadbeen the acquisition of livestock. Although the Igorothad long domesticated the pig and were already breedingit for use in their rituals by the start of the 18th century,they did not develop self-sufficiency in cattle productionuntil the middle of the 19th century. Building up thenecessary stock of cattle took so long because the veryIgorot who accumulated cattle in significant numbersbutchered these and distributed the meat in public feasts,to establish and then periodically renew their prestige.And when these Igorot died, all the cattle they ownedwere butchered for their mortuary feasts.

It was the ambition of the typical Igorot man or womanto die the owner of a large herd of cattle. The slaughter ofmany heads of cattle during a person’s mortuary feastassured that person of prestige in the afterlife.

Only when a considerable number of young men startedto make a career out of breeding cattle for the chiefpurpose of trading these locally, rather thanaccumulating these for slaughter in prestige feasts, wasenough cattle finally raised among the Igorot to renderthe gold commerce with lowlanders somewhatredundant.

As soon as they were ensured of a steady supply of cattle,the Ibaloy of Itogon, in particular, started to cut down ontheir gold trade. These Ibaloy accumulated a surplus incattle, and the baknang, the wealthier ones among them,invested this in the improvement of land for wet-ricecultivation. That is to say, they used the meat of cattle

to reciprocate for the labor contributed by large numbersof poorer abiteg towards the construction of pondfieldsand the installation of irrigation systems.

After having completed the baknang’s projects in landimprovement, the abiteg improved lands for themselves.Within a single generation, pondfields replaced cattle atthe top of the Itogon Ibaloy’s list of most prized possessions;wet-rice cultivation replaced gold and cattle productionand trade as the chief livelihood of the Ibaloy.

Perhaps only the outbreak of the Philippine Revolutionin 1896 – and the imperative to help finance this as wellas the defense of the new Republic against the Americaninvasion of 1899 – forestalled the Itogon Igorot’s completeabandonment of the gold trade. After the Filipino defeatin 1902, less than a hundred Ibaloy in Itogon stillbothered with mining.

Among the Kankanaey of the Mancayan area, adiversification of livelihood rather than a shift tookplace. The baknang had ricefields built, but they alsocontinued to have the nabiteg mine for them quiteintensively well into the 1890s.

The baknang of both Itogon and Mancayan may not havemonopolized ownership of the land in their areas. Butthey did enjoy the privelege of first-pick in choosing landfor grazing cattle and for improvement as pondfields. Inthe Mancayan area, as well as the Bakun area and Loo inBuguias, their choices left the nabiteg with little irrigableland. For there was less of such land here than in Itogon.

The nabiteg thus stuck to gold and copper production,complemented by swidden cultivation – mostly on landowned by the baknang. When the Americans arrived inthe 1900s, the baknang readily entered into contractsthat allowed these Americans to file the legal claims tomineral-bearing land and the baknang to becomeshareholders in the mining firms that they would putup.

This left the nabiteg trapped in a situation of practicallyno choice: work in the mines of the Americans or gohungry. But they discovered a path of escape – the pathto Itogon.

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In the time of the American OccupationAmericans first arrived in Itogon in numbers in the year1900, in pursuit of Juan Cariño Oraa. Cariño waspresidente of the revolutionary government of theProvince of Benguet. He was also among the leaders ofthe wealthiest clan in Benguet – a clan that had tradedin gold since its founding in the 17th century. UnitedStates army intelligence suspected that by 1900, he andhis kinsmen had contributed at least 50,000 pesos ingold to the defense of the Philippine Republic.1

Oral tradition in Itogon recalls that it was during theAmerican pursuit of Cariño when US army soldiers firstsaw Antamok gold – being panned from the waters of acreek. Within a few months, those soldiers who hadcompleted their tours of duty started prospecting forbodies of gold ore in Antamok. From there, they fannedout to other parts of Itogon.

Most of the Ibaloy were too busy growing their crops andtheir livestock to bother with the Americans. “You mightsay that our leaders in those days were idiots for allowingthe Americans to do as they pleased,” an old Ibaloywoman remarks. “But how could they have known whatthe Americans would do to the land?”

The Ibaloy’s baknang feudal elite, as well as the abitegpeasantry, had no conception of how the Americans’ largemines would affect their environment and theirlivelihood. The only kind of mining they had ever knowncompeted with land cultivation and livestock productiononly in terms of the demands it made on peasant labortime.

The few young men in the Ibaloy villages whose timewas not fully employed in agricultural or pastoral dutieseven hired themselves out to the Americans asprospecting assistants. They boastfully pointed out oldmining locations, eagerly scouted out new miningprospects, and happily helped out with the digging ofassay holes at the going minimum wage of a quarter-peso per day. Their favorite among the prospectors wasNelson Peterson, a European-American who was friendlywith their old folk and could converse with them inSpanish. By the time Peterson left the Philippines in1914 to enlist for the Great War in Europe, he had filed

the claims on which three corporations would establishtheir dominance of Philippine gold mining for years tocome: the Antamok claims that would be operated byBenguet Consolidated – the present Benguet Corporation;the Gumatdang claims that would be operated by Atok-Big Wedge; the claims in central Itogon that would beoperated by Itogon-Suyoc; and those in Suyoc that wouldbe operated by the same.

Suyoc was not part of Itogon; it was located five towns tothe northwest, in Mancayan. There, another European-American dominated the prospecting scene – JohnMüller, who filed the claims that would be operated bythe copper mining company, Lepanto Consolidated.

Besides Lepanto, other copper mines would be opened bythe Americans in Tuba. But copper mining would notreally prosper in the Philippines until the dawn of theSecond World War.

In the meantime, American activity in Mancayanstarted to displace nabiteg who had little other means ofsurvival than small-scale mining. Many of the nabitegsoon left for Itogon – where, it was said, both the landand the Ibaloy were so accommodating, anyone couldopen a mine, cultivate a swidden, graze cattle, buildhouses, even one or two pondfields, as well as a new life,on any unoccupied spot.

In truth, it was labor that the Ibaloy were interested in –particularly the baknang and the upwardly mobile cattleraisers among them. With the coming of the Kankanaey,they could recruit more people for work in their ricefields.The Kankanaey could even help keep an eye on the cattle.They could live on a baknang’s or pastol’s vast grazinglands, where they could also mine and cultivate swiddens.And when it was time for transplanting and harvestingrice, they could be invited to help in the work, in exchangefor shares of the crop. It would be a mutually beneficialarrangement.

And so, the Ibaloy welcomed the Kankanaey into theirmidst. Besides those who arrived from the Mancayanarea, others from the Bakun area and Loo also turned up.

By 1933, the Kankanaey had established themselves inseveral distinct communities that constituted pocket

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villages within the villages of the Ibaloy. In the twomost sparsely populated of these villages – Ucab andTuding – the Kankanaey would eventually outnumberthe Ibaloy.

But first, migrant mine workers would outnumber boththe Ibaloy and the Kankanaey. Unable to attract muchlocal labor away from the fields, pastures, and smallmines, the American mining companies in Itogon, aswell as those in Mancayan and Tuba, brought in workersfrom all over the Philippines – but most notably fromthe other Cordillera provinces, the Pangasinan plains,Bicol, and the Visayas.

From 1934 to 1941, the companies intensified theirdevelopment and operation of large mines. Spurred by ahigh gold price and a rising demand for copper, theydrove in new tunnels and expanded their companycompounds to accommodate new mine portals, oreconveying trams, ore mills, electrical power stations,offices, staff cottages, and workers’ bunkhouses.

Now, Itogon’s Ibaloy complained. Because now, thetunnels were being driven so deep, these destroyed watersources. Because now, so much timber was being felledfor both tunnel shoring and surface constructions thatwatersheds were getting denuded. Because now, thecompany compounds were becoming so huge, they ateinto space that villagers needed for expanding ricefields,cultivating swiddens, pasturing cattle, and – yes –opening small mines.

In 1937, a disaster hit Gumatdang, Itogon’s oldest rice-producing village. Atok-Big Wedge drove in two gigantictunnels on opposite sides of the village. Immediately,these drained the water from Gumatdang’s mostabundant irrigation sources. Immediately, ricefields inthe eastern and western sections of the village dried up.The baknang leaders and abiteg elders of the villagedemanded that Atok do something to address thesituation. But all the company could do was promisericefield owners a lost-crops annuity of 25 pesos perpondfield that would be paid starting 1938.

It was compensation far from just. It provided a slimmargin over the actual cost of buying the rice that each

pondfield would have yielded every year.2 But it couldnot pay for the other things that the community ofGumatdang – not just the ricefield owners – had lost:the cooperative-labor and reciprocal-exchange relationsthat were tied up with the production of rice on thosepondfields; self-sufficiency in food and the security thatwent with this; the stability of the village economy.

Beyond Benguet, no other Cordilleran peasantcommunities suffered in the hands of the Americanmining companies, although Americans had prospectedall over the mountain range. Word of the impact beingeffected by American mining on the wet-rice productionresources of Itogon had somehow reached the peasantryin these parts of the Cordillera. Thus, when theAmericans attempted to open mines in their areas, theyinvariably drove these Americans off.

In recent timesAnother boom in mine development occurred after theSecond World War. Spurred by an escalation in copperprices that was associated with the demands of postwarreconstruction and the US’s anxieties over its Cold Warwith the Soviet Union, this boom was felt north to southof the Philippines. This second boom led to a seconddisaster in Gumatdang.

In 1962, Benguet Corporation drove in a drainage tunnelthat stretched between its Kelly mine in Gumatdang andits mines in Antamok. Instead of just draining waterfrom the mines, the tunnel drained the water from amajor irrigation source. Again, ricefields dried up –this time in northern Gumatdang. Two baknang womenwho owned most of the affected ricefields sued thecompany. Rather than seek compensation, they askedthe courts to compel the company to plug the drainagetunnel. But the company convinced the courts that thecost of doing so would be impossibly high. The courtsthus compelled the two women to instead accept damagepayments of 2,000 pesos initially, then 270 pesos forevery year that the tunnels were kept open.

In the wake of the 1962 disaster, Gumatdang was leftwith very few pondfields on which its peasantry couldgrow rice. Both Ibaloy and Kankanaey peasants coped

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by intensifying their cultivation of swiddens and theirsmall-scale mining.

The loss of water was experienced more gradually in otherItogon villages. But by the end of the 1960s, enoughwater loss had been experienced to cause all but threepeasant communities in Itogon to adopt the same meansof coping as had their neighbors in Gumatdang. For theIbaloy, in particular, this represented a retrogression:their ancestors’ achievements in developing the wet-riceculture in Itogon had been undone.

And still, the destruction would not end. Bigger disasterswere yet to come.

Using his powers as a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos had agroup of his business and military cronies open andmanage a gold mine on an old American claim in BatongBuhay, Balatoc within the municipality of Pasil, Kalingaat the start of the 1980s. The group had the mine and itsmill developed and operated by the Philex MiningCorporation, a company which had been operating inItogon and Tuba since 1956.

Philex began ore extraction in Batong Buhay in 1982and ore processing in 1983. Its mining and its millingoperations were so intensive, they immediately resultedin the pollution of the Chico river system downstream ofBatong Buhay, all the way from Pasil through Tabukand Pinukpuk in Kalinga, plus Tuao in Cagayan, toQuezon and Mallig in Isabela. Rice fields in these areaswere either buried in silt or got so contaminated withtoxic pollutants that they could no longer be planted.

Casting aside all fear of military reprisal, rice producingpeasants in Tabuk and Pinukpuk rose up in protest,demanding that the Marcos government shut down theBatong Buhay Mines. But two years into their protests,the peasants had yet to gain anything more thanacknowledgement by the government that BatongBuhay was the cause of their woes. In response, therevolutionary New People’s Army – active throughoutthe Chico river basin in a struggle to save other peasantvillages from the Marcos government’s megadam projects– launched a raid on Batong Buhay, blew up its powersource, and forced the closure of the Philex operations in1985.

The NPA, however, was not in Benguet. Here, Philexand other mining companies were able to expand andintensify their ore production activities with littleeffective resistance – up to 1988, that is.

During the preceding decade, mining companies inBenguet and throughout the Philippines were upgradingtheir operations. Because they had depleted the higher-grade ore veins which they had been able to exploitprofitably through conventional, labor-intensivemethods of underground mining, they shifted tomechanized bulk mining – i.e., the block-caving and strip-mining of more massive but lower-grade deposits.

To clear the way for the installation of their tailings damsalong the rivers, the companies drove off placer miners.To clear the way for bulk mining, they tried to buy offsmall-scale lode miners and swidden cultivators, and alsothe remaining cultivators of wet-rice paddies.

In Itogon, the Ibaloy and Kankanaey peasantcommunities resisted. Although all they had to lose wasbadly degraded land that, by now, had very little goldleft to yield to small-scale miners, the villagers ofGumatdang fought Atok-Big Wedge and BenguetCorporation from 1991 to 1993 – and won. Theirneighbors in the village of Ucab fought an even longerstruggle with Benguet Corporation, from 1989 to 1994,and those in Tuding, from 1988 to 1997. Others inDalicno and Lolita continue to fight Benguet Corporation,as well as Itogon-Suyoc, even today. These communitieshave saved what remains of their land. But the people ofother villages conceded their resistance early. And thishas cost them – and not only them but everyone livingdownstream of them.

In 1990, a major earthquake rocked Northern Luzon anddestabilized the earth along its mineral zones. Tailingsdams began to give way. First to go, during theearthquake itself, was a Benguet Corporation tailingsdam on the Antamok river. Next, in 1992, was a tailingsdam of the Philex Mining Corporation, which hadpioneered in tailings dam construction. In 1994, anotherPhilex tailings dam gave way, along with a tailings damof Itogon-Suyoc. Later, one wall of a Lepanto tailingsdam collapsed. In 2001, tailings breached anotherPhilex dam.

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Earlier, in 1986, a Lepanto tailings dam had alreadycollapsed. Indeed, all through the succeeding years,Lepanto’s dams proved incapable of containing the volumeof tailings that came from its mills: these tailings wouldtime and again breach their dams.

The tailings silted up the rivers and adjacent lands. Inthe latest case involving Philex, ricefields in San Manueland Binalonan, Pangasinan, were buried in toxic silt ameter deep. Philex refused to admit responsibility for thedisaster, although it had paid damages for such disastersin the past. It now followed the example of other miningcompanies in the Philippines, who always placed theblame on nature.

With the advent of the transnationalsLepanto is now the sole survivor among the miningcompanies that the Americans established during theiroccupation of the Philippines. It has survived with thehelp of Rio Tinto, its joint-venture partner in a 1990soperation dubbed the Far Southeast Gold Project, and oneof its backers in its ongoing Victoria Gold Project. It is nowthe Philippines’ leading producer of gold as well as copper.

The Philippine government believes that the country’smining industry cannot survive without the infusion ofcapital from abroad. This is why it has opened thecountry’s mineral deposits to exploration and exploitationby transnationals.

Transnational firms have applied to explore and exploitthe entirety of the Cordillera; the mining applications thathave been filed with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau inthe Cordillera Administrative Region actually spill over

to the adjacent plains and the Caraballo mountain range.These applications cover a total land area of nearly 1.9million hectares – that is to say, 104% of the total landarea under CAR.

Despite the transnationals’ attempts to divide and conquerthem with deceit, bribery, and force, peasant communitiesin the Cordillera have thus far been successful in theirresistance to the entry of the transnationals.

Elsewhere: the peasants of Didipio in Nueva Vizcaya havegotten the government to suspend enforcement of itsmineral exploitation agreement with the multinationalClimax Arimco; the indigenous Mangyan of Mindoro havesimilarly gotten the government to suspend theoperations of Canada’s Crew Development Corporation;the people of Maguindanao province in central Mindanaohave been able to boot out Australia’s Western Mining.Other Filipinos have, however, not had similar success.The indigenous Subanon and migrant small-scale minersof Zamboanga are still trying to put a stop to theoperations of Toronto Ventures.

The bad record that large mining has established amongPhilippine communities – indigenous, peasant, andotherwise – accounts for the resistance. It must be notedthat this record does not just involve bad behavior on thepart of mining companies – engaging in deceit, refusingto admit responsibility for mine disasters, and so on; thisinvolves the character of large mining itself.

Large mining destroys. Large mining pollutes. Largemining disrupts agricultural economies. Large miningdisplaces people.

1 Cariño commanded the Filipino defense forces in Benguet. And these forces were already in retreat by April 1900. US army troopspursued them to Antamok, wounded Cariño in battle there, but caught up with him only a month later in Kabayan, two towns to the northof Itogon, while he was tending his wounds. They captured him and incarcerated him for seven years.

2 In 1938, 25 pesos could buy 83 gantas of rice. The average size of pondfields in Gumatdang was 400 sq.m. or 0.04 hectare. The averageyield in warm parts of Itogon, like Gumatdang, was 100 cavans or 2,000 gantas per hectare per year – or 80 gantas for every 0.04 ha.

This is the shortened version of an APIT TAKO paper first presented on behalf of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance to the United Nations Economic and SocialCouncil’s Commission on Human Rights during its Transnational Extractive Industries Review (session regarding the impact on indigenous people), December 2001and revised March 2002. References are cited in the original paper.

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profile of the abra river

MorphologyThe morphology of Abra Province is dominated by theAbra River. The basin is generally rugged and istransversed on all sides by hills and towering mountainsof the central Cordillera that make up the rough relief ofthe basin. Only approximately 10% of the watershed issufficiently flat for intensive agriculture, mainly at thevalley bottoms.

Abra River originates at Mt. Osdong in Benguet provinceand traverses north until Lagangilang and Tayum whereit is joined by Tineg River and turns west to drain intothe Chinese Sea at the coastal plains of Cauayan. Thehighest elevation in the watershed is reaching more than2,400 m.a.s.l. (meters above sea level) on its right (east)side, and only some 500 m a.s.l. on its left (west) side.When entering into the Abra Province south of Tubo,Abra River has the level of approximately 200 m.a.s.l.and then gently drops down for approximately 90 kmuntil it leaves the province at the level of approximately15 m.a.s.l. at San Quintin.

GeologyThe eastern highlands of Abra River watershed consist ofmetavolcanic and metasediments, with a dioriteintrusive as part of the Central Cordillera PlutonicComplex. Gold and copper prospects are associated withthis complex. The foothills of the eastern flanks and thewestern highlands of the Abra River are dominated byrelatively recent clastic sediments, including graywacke,sandstone etc, and a limestone deposit at Bucay.

Northern Luzon is traversed by the Philippine Fault anda complementary set of northeast linaments. Abra Rivermore or less flows along the Abra Fault which is a splayof the Philippine Fault complex. Large earthquakes (e.g.in 1923 and 1990) are associated with this fault.

HydrologyThe annual flow distribution of Abra River shows adistinct separation into two seasons, average flows are asfollowing:

· Dry season November to April: discharge of approx.100m3/s to 500m3/s in average.

· Wet season June to September: discharge of approx.300m3/s to 1000m3/s, with peak floods up to10,000m3/s

· May and October are transition months.

Records show that almost every year, the province is hitby typhoon resulting in a high flood of Abra River ofapprox. 3,000m3/s or more. Every 5 to 10 years, thetyphoons are very strong and even higher dischargesoccur.

Maximum discharges of Abra River have been estimatedbased on computations by hydrograph method andobservations in the field. The maximum estimated floodswith a return period of 50 years are in the order ofQ

50 = 7,500 m3/c at Tayum (prior to confluence with

Tineg River)Q

50 = 10,000 m3/s at San Quintin (prior to leaving Abra

Province )

Many areas along Abra River and tributaries are proneto flooding and erosion.

SettlementsThe larger settlements of 10,000 people or more are allsituated along Abra River and include Bucay, La Paz,Lagangilang, Tayum and Bangued, the latter being thelargest town with more than 35,000 inhabitants.Manabo, Lagangilang and La Paz have been designatedas secondary growth centers which should attract mostof the migrating rural people.

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It is noted that main erosion processes are occurring atManabo, Lagangilang and Bangued along the Abra River.

Soil, forest and vegetationErosion of the soil cover in the uphill is a dominantproblem in Abra Province. Unprotected land withoutvegetation is easily washed away by rain and floods andis consequently lost for future agriculture or pasture.Main reasons are the steep slopes, instabilities inconnection with earthquakes, human and animalactivities (overgrazing, slash and burn). It is estimatedby the DENR that approx. 20% (800 km2) of theprovincial area are affected by erosion.

Approx. 155 km2 have been afforested under projects andprograms of DENR up to now according to officialstatistics. The DENR plans programmes for furtherplantations and stabilisations in Lagangilang, Baay-Licuan, Tubo, Lacub, Malibcong, Daguioman, Danglas,

San Isidro. The estimated cost for the years 1999- 2003are in the order of P3 million (US $80,000).

Discussions with local people and officials show thatpartly devastating status of the watershed forest is mademore or less solely responsible for downstream flooding.The argument has some logic since the water andsediment retention capacity of denuded slopes is certainlyless than fully vegetated ones. However, recent researchin Switzerland and the Himalayan region shows that forlarge basins, the influence of the basin vegetation on thepeak floods is not significant. This means that measuresagainst flooding will be necessary even if the afforestationprogram in the basin highlands is continuing. Thishowever does not mean that afforestation shall not becontinued or even increased, since it is essentiallynecessary to keep the fertile soil in the mountainousregions (for agricultural purposes) and forests contributelargely to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Characteristics of Abra River and tributar-iesThe average gradient of the river within Abra Provinceis approx. 0.2%; the minimum gradient at aroundBangued is approx. 0.05%. The width of the river variesfrom approx. 500 m near Luba to 2.3 km near Manaboand further downstream until a narrow stretch of approx.1.2 km at Lagangilang (Marcos Bridge). The river iswidest with 3 km just downstream of the confluence withTineg River; it has a varying width around Banguedand is distinctively constricted at San Diego where onlya passage of 200 m width is available for the large floods,resulting in a considerable tail water effect.

Highest water levels are 5 m to 7 m above low waterlevel and up to 12 m at San Diego constriction. Thehighest water velocities during floods are in order of 2-4m/s and up to 8 m/s at San Diego.

Hazards of Abra RiverDue to the high influx of sediments from the upperwatershed and the rather low gradient in the centraland lower river section, the riverbed shows aggradingtrends. As a consequence, river meanders change, riverbanks are eroded and the high flood level increases.Morphological features, which can be observed betweenLuba and San Quintin, include point bar deposits(“islands” created by meanders partly submerged),alluvial terraces (now mainly used for agriculture andsettlements), and levees (accumulated river deposits atriver bed or bank).

Main River hazards observed include· Bank erosion of agricultural, commercial or

residential land· Flooding of agricultural or residential land.

Flooding occurs at many alluvial terraces near the river,and flood levels of up to 2 m or more have been observedat Bucay, Lagangilang (up to barangay Ballais), Bangued(barangay Sanga Rosa and Bangbangar) and Langiden/Pidigan.

Regarding erosion, the river meanders were studied toapprox. 50 years back based on available aerial photos

and satellite image. The most active part is the sectionfrom Luba to San Diego. Further up- and downstream,the channel is more or less confined by rocky slopes.Significant channel migration is notable at Bucay andbarangays Bangagar, Santa Rosa and Pallao of Bangued.All these channel migrations resulted in riverbankerosion. Extension of existing meanders is notableupstream of Manabo and Lagangilang, both resulting inriverbank erosion and partly destruction of settlements.Further erosion is noted at tributaries, in particularbarangays Mudeng and Naguillian / La Paz at TinegRiver, Pawa / Langangilang at Taping / Kilsoden River,and Barangay Patoc / Manabo at Manikbel / Ikmin River.

The river hazard, damage potential and resulting riskhave been assessed in detail at selected locations as shownbelow.

Priority Location Risk Length (m)2 San Ramon 1 High 15006 San Ramon 2 Medium 7 0 08 San Ramon 3 Medium 15009 Bucay Medium 20001 Lagangilang High 1 3 0 04 Dolores Tineg Medium 20007 Naguillian Medium 15005 Calaba Bangued Medium 10003 Cabuluan Bangued High 20001 0 Pidigan Medium 2000

Mining resourcesGold and copper mining prospects exist at some locationsin the hills and mountains east Abra River ( Lacub,Bucay, Licuan-Baay, Tubo, Boliney and Bucloc).However, mining has not yet been taken up, although amining company does exist in Bangued. It seems thatmining is not yet considered sufficiently attractive. Inview of limited resources in Abra province, miningshould be allowed only when sufficient precautions aretaken to prevent adverse environmental impacts. In thissense, active promotion of mining is not recommended.

The above statements are also true for the limestoneprospects near Bucay where plans for using the depositsfor cement production do exist.

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Other resourcesWaste is currently dumped mainly along the riversideand partly washed away during high floods. Thisprinciple may be somehow acceptable for low populationdensities and lower waste concentration. However, citiessuch as Bangued will very soon have to look moreseriously into the waste problem. It is recommended thatcontrolled dumping places are designated in the zoningplans and that they are professionally operated andmonitored.

AgricultureThe main agricultural areas are located on alluvialterraces of Abra River. The municipalities along AbraRiver contain approx. 80% of the whole agricultural land,whereas mountainous municipalities only include somelimited valley bottoms or slight slopes along tributaries.The agricultural production (1997 in metric tons) of thewhole province is estimated to be approx. as followingwith indication of sufficiency levels in brackets):· Rice 34,000 mt (110%)· Corn 13,000 mt (260%)· Fruits 12,000 mt (210%)· Vegetable 5,000 mt (60%)· Root crops 3,000 mt (100%)· Livestock 3,000 mt (100% for beef/pork, 10% for


261 irrigation systems are operating in the province asper 1998, covering a service area of approx. 11,000 ha.The systems range from small schemes for some farmersonly to the largest scheme of ARIA(Abra River Irrigator’sAssociation) in the Tayum region with a service area ofapprox. 1,300 ha. In general, irrigation allows twoharvest per year, partly even three at optimal locations.NIA(National Irrigation Authority) indicates that thetotal potential irrigation land is approx. 26,000 ha, thusall the flat land currently used for agriculture.

NIA intends to expand the total irrigated area andproposes 209 additional schemes for cover additional12,000 ha. The total service area would then be morethan 80% of the potential irrigated area. However, ithas to be mentioned that quite some of the additionalservice area is threatened by the river hazards such asflooding or erosion, and the feasibility of such a bigexpansion seem doubtful. Plans until year 2004 are tocover additional 5,500 ha at a cost of P320 million (US$8.5 million). The largest scheme is planed in Lagangilang.In addition, many schemes need rehabilitation.

Main problems for operation of irrigating systems includethe varying water levels of major rivers (in particularAbra River), river hazards (erosion and flooding),siltation of channels, organizational problems in largeassociations, and financial constraints due to limited fees.

Excerpts from the “ABRA RIVER REGULATION PROJECT PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY (FINAL REPORT)”, Volume 1 by Trans-Asia in association with Basler andHofman as commissioned by the Provincial Government of Abra and the National Economic and Development Authority, February 2000

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biological environment (floraand fauna) of the abra river

A. Vegetation/Flora

1. Forest Ecosystem.The forest ecosystem of Abra River Watershed has onehundred forty one plant species. One hundred six are en-demic- nineteen has medicinal values; thirty-five areexotic or introduced-only eight have medicinal values.

These are growing in the higher elevation of the water-shed where they form the vegetation, particularly alongmountains, ravines, hills and stream or riverbanks (Table1 ) .

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Table 1. Flora growing in the forest ecosystem of Abra River Watershed (continued on next 2 pages).


Abutra Arcangelisia flava Endemic, medicinalAgakong Arcangelisia capillaris Endemic,medicinalAgoho Casuarina equisitifolia IntroducedAkapulko Cassia alata Introduced,medicinalAkle Albizia akle EndemicAkleng parang Albizia procera EndemicAlas-as Pandanus luzonensis EndemicAlbutra Arcangelisia flava EndemicAlibangbang Bauhinia malabarica EndemicAlmaciga Agathis philippinensis Endemic, MedicinalAlupag Lichi chinensis EndemicAlupang Euphoria digyma EndemicAmugis Koordersiodendron pinnatum EndemicAmuyong Goniothalamus amuyong EndemicAnabiong Trema orientales EndemicAnagap Archidendron scutiferum EndemicAnchoan-dilau Cassia spectabilis IntroducedAnilau Corona serrtifolia EndemicAnonang Cordia obliqua EndemicAntipolo Artocarpus blancoi EndemicAnubing Artocarpus ovatus EndemicAtibulnak Robus rosayoluis EndemicAunanis Ardisia pyramidalis EndemicBagalunga/Bullilising Melia dubia EndemicBagras Eucalyptus deglupta EndemicBalatong aso Cassia accidentalis Introduced, medicinalBalete Kingiodendron alternifolium EndemicBalinghasai Buchanania arborescens EndemicBanaba Lagerstroemia speciosa EndemicBangar Sterculia foetida EndemicBangkal Nauclea orientalis EndemicBansalagin Mimosops elengi EndemicBanuyo Wallacodendron celebicum EndemicBayanti Aglaia llanosiana EndemicBayog Dendrocalamus merilliamus EndemicBenguet Pine Pinus insularis EndemicBig leaf mahogany Swietenia macrophyla King IntroducedBignai Antidesma bunius EndemicBignai pugo Antidesma pentandrum EndemicBikal Schizostachyum diffusum EndemicBikal baboi Schizostachyum dielsianum EndemicBinayuyu Antidesma ghaesembilla EndemicBinunga Macaranga tanarius EndemicBolo Gigantochloa levis Endemic

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Brazilian Fire Tree Schizolobium parahybum IntroducedBroad-winged Apitong Dipterocarpus kunstleri EndemicBuho Schizostachyum lumampao EndemicBulak manok Ageratum conyooides Endemic, MedicinalBunga Areca catechu Endemic, medicinalBunot Robus elmeri EndemicBuntok kapon Ateris nutilata Endemic, MedicinalBurburtak Bidens pilosa Introduced, MedicinalBuri Corypha elata EndemicCalliandra Calliandra colothyrsus IntroducedDagdagtey Sphebomeris chinensis Endemic, MedicinalDayap Citrus aurantifolia Endemic, MedicinalDikai Embelia philippinensis EndemicDita/Dalipawen Alstonia scholaris Endemic, MedicinalDuhat Syzigium cumini IntroducedDungon Heritiera sylvatica EndemicEarpod Enterolobium cyclocarpum IntroducedFire tree Delonix regia IntroducedFringon Bauhinia monandra IntroducedGatas-gatas Euphoria hirta Endemic, MedicinalGendey Rorippa indica Introduced, MedicinalGisol Kemppfera galanga Endemic, MedicinalGmelina/Yemane Gmelina arborea IntroducedGogo Entada phaseoloides Endemic, medicinalGuava Psidium guajava EndemicGuijo Shorea guiso EndemicGulasiman Portulaca alaracea Introduced, MedicinalHauili Ficus septica EndemicHimbabao Brousonetia luzonica EndemicIkmo Piper betel Endemic, MedicinalIpil Instia bijuga EndemicIpil-ipil Leucaena leucocephala IntroducedIs-is Ficus ulmifolia EndemicJapanese acacia Acacia auricolaeformis IntroducedKakauate Glyricidia sepium IntroducedKalantas Toona kalantas EndemicKalimutian Disoxylum arborescens EndemicKalios/Aludig Streblus asper EndemicKalumpit Terminalia microcarpa EndemicKariskis Albizia lebbekoides EndemicKataka-taka Kalanchoe pinnata Endemic, MedicinalKatoang Bangkal Anthocephalus chinensis EndemicKawayan Tinik Bambusa spinosa IntroducedKawayan-kiling Bambusa bulgaris EndemicKayunkum Selaginella tamariscima Endemic, MedicinalKolot-kulotan Trumfeta bartramia EndemicKuliat Gnetum indicum EndemicKulibangbang Bauhunia acuminata Introduced

Table 1 (continued). Flora growing in the forest ecosystem of Abra River Watershed

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Kulitis Amaranthius gracillis Introduced, medicinalLagundi/Dangla Vitex negundo EndemicLanete Writhia pubescens EndemicLanlanpaka Sobehus aruensis Introduced, medicinalLanong babae Lycopodium cernum Endemic, medicinalLigas/Kamiring Semecarpus philippinensis EndemicLimuran Calamus ornatus EndemicLiusin Parinari corymbosa EndemicLubigan Acorus calamus Introduced, medicinalLuya-luyahan Curcurma zedoira Endemic, MedicinalLuyang dilaw Curcurma domestica Endemic, MedicinalMac Arthurs Palm Ptychosperma macarthurii IntroducedMaguey Agave cantula IntroducedMakahiya Mimosa pudica Endemic, MedicinalMalabuho Sterculia oblongata EndemicMalapapaya Polyscias nodosa EndemicMalasaging Aglaia diffusa EndemicMalugai Pometia pinnata IntroducedManalu Semecarpus longifolius EndemicMangga Mangifera indica EndemicMangium Acacia mangium IntroducedMolave Vitex parviflora EndemicNarra Pterocarpus indicus EndemicPalawan cherry Cassia nodosa IntroducedPalosanto Triplaris cumingiana IntroducedPalosapis Anisoptera thurifera EndemicPangi Pangium edule IntroducedPiling liitan/anteng Canarium luzonicum EndemicPinkapinkahan Orxylum indicum EndemicPitogo Cycas rumphii EndemicPongapong/tigi Amorphopalus campanumatus EndemicRain tree Albizzia saman/ Samanea saman IntroducedRed Lauan Shorea negrosensis EndemicSakat Terminalia nitens EndemicSalago Wikstroemia spp. EndemicSampalok Tamarindus indica IntroducedSiniguelas Semecarpus purpurea EndemicTagpo Ardisia squamosa EndemicTalisai Terminalia catappa EndemicTalugtog Gualtheria leocarpa IntroducedTamayuan Strombosia philippinensis EndemicTambo Arundo donax EndemicTeak Tectona grandis IntroducedTindalo Canarium rhomboidea EndemicTuai Bischofia javanica EndemicUai Calamus grandifolius EndemicWhite lauan Shorea contorta EndemicWild Strawberry Robus rosayolius Endemic

Table 1 (continued). Flora growing in the forest ecosystem of Abra River Watershed

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2. Grassland Ecosystem.Fifty-one plant species are growing in the grasslandecosystem of the Abra River watershed. Eighteen areintroduced- two have medicinal values; thirty-three areendemic- six have medicinal values. These are common


Agakong Artemisia capillaris Endemic/ MedicinalAlam Dactylochtenium aegyptium EndemicAmorseco Chrysopogon aciculatrus EndemicAnis Foeniculum bulgare IntroducedAnuwang Cyperus kyllingia Endemic/ MedicinalApidam Ellesusine indica EndemicBabaka-nalabaka Panicum reptans EndemicBamoko Chloris barbara EndemicBarit Lessia hexandra IntroducedBermuda grass Cynodon dactylon IntroducedBinayoyo Antidesma ghaesembilla EndemicBongalon Echinochloa stagnina EndemicBotansilyo Cyperus globulosa EndemicBuntot Socciolepsis indica EndemicCarabao grass Onnupus compressus EndemicCogon Imperata cylindrica Endemic

Table 2. Flora found in the grassland ecosystem of Abra River Watershed

3. Urban and Rural Ecosystem.The urban and rural ecosystems are the exposed areaslike grassland paddies, cultivated fields, wetlands, wa-tercourses and roadsides. Ninety-eight identified plantspecies are growing in this ecosystem. Forty-five are in-troduced- fifteen are edible and five have medical val-

in open grassland, banks of rice paddies, cultivated lands,along trails, canals near settlements, waste grounds androadsides (Table 2).

ues. Fifty-three are endemic- sixteen are edible and twelvehave medicinal values. These plant species are mostlyfound growing along human settlement and areas withlow to medium elevation in the watershed (Table 3).

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Acacia mangium Acacia mangium IntroducedAcapulko Cassia alata Endemic/medicinalAcerola Malphigia glabra IntroducedAchuete Bixa orellana Endemic/edibleAgakog Arthemissia capillaris Introduced/medicinalAgoho Casuarina equisitifolia IntroducedAlnus Alnus japonica IntroducedAlnus nepalensis Alnus nepalensis IntroducedAmerican Kapok Ceiba pentandia IntroducedAnuwang Cyprus kyllingia Endemic/medicinalAtis Anona squamosa Introduced/edibleAvocado Persea gratissima Endemic/edibleBalimbing/granatis Averhoa carambola Introduced/edibleBanana Musa spp Endemic/edibleBetel-kulutan EndemicBig leaf mahogany Swietenia machropyla IntroducedBotansilyo Cyprus kyllingia EndemicBulak manok Agratum conyzoides Endemic/medicinalBunga Areca catechu Endemic/medicinalCaballero Caesalpinia pulcherrima IntroducedCacao Theombroma cacao Endemic/edibleCaimito Chrysophyllum cainito Introduced/edibleCalachuchi Pluemra acuminata Introduced/medicinalChico Manilkara sapota Introduced/edibleCitrus Citrus auranthium EndemicCoconut/niog Cocos nucifera Endemic/edibleCoffee Coffea arabica Introduced/edibleDamong Maria Atemisia vulgaris Introduced/medicinalDapdap Eryhtrina orientalis EndemicDatiles Mutianga calabura Introduced/medicinalDayap Citrus aurantifolia Endemic/medicinalDilang-baka Nopalea cochinellefera EndemicDuhat Syzigium cumingii Endemic/edibleExcelsa Coffea excelsa IntroducedGininbua Saururus chinensis IntroducedGisol Kaempferia galanga Endemic/medicinalGolden shower Cassia fistula IntroducedGuava Psidium guajava Endemic/edibleGuayabano Anona muricata Introduced/edibleGulasiman Potulaca oleraceae Endemic/medicinalIpil-ipil Leucaena leucocephala IntroducedJapanese acacia Acacia auriculiformis IntroducedKadayohan Celosia argentea Endemic/medicinalKahel Citrus auranthium Endemic/medicinalKakawate Gliricida sepium Introduced

Table 3. Flora found in the rural and urban ecosystem in the Abra River Watershed.

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Kalamansi Citrus madurensis Introduced/edibleKamachile Pithecellobium dulce Introduced/edibleKamagong Diospyros philippinensis Endemic/edibleKamansi Sympetalandra densiflora Introduced/edibleKamias Averrhoa balimbi Endemic/edibleKapok Artocarpus altilis EndemicKasoy Anacardium occidentale Introduced/edibleKataka-taka Kalanchoe pinnata Endemic/medicinalKaturia Sesbania grandiflora Endemic/edibleKawayan kiling Bambusa bulgaris EndemicKawayan tinik Bambusa spinosa EndemicKayumyum Salnaginalla tamariscina Endemic/medicinalKulatis Amaranthus gracillis EndemicKulot-kulutan Triumfetta rhomboidea EndemicLantana Lantana camara EndemicLanting Plantago major EndemicLigtang/bayating Anamarita cocculus EndemicLukban/Suwa/Pomelo Citrus grandis Endemic/edibleLuya-luyahan Cucurma zedoarea EndemicLuyang dilaw Cucurma domestica EndemicMaguey Agave cantula IntroducedMakopa Syzigium samarngense Introduced/edibleMalunggay Moringa olifera Introduced/edibleMangga Mangifera indica Endemic/edibleManila palm/ Buwa China Veitchia merillii EndemicMcArthur palm/ Ptychosperma macarthurii IntroducedMisperos Eriobotya japonica EndemicMottled lead dapdap Erythtrina variegata Introduced/medicinalMulberry Morus alba IntroducedMurray red gum Eucalyptys camaldulensis IntroducedNangka/jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus Endemic/edibleNarra Pterocarpus indicus EndemicPalong manok Celosia argentina IntroducedPersimon Diosppyrus kaki Introduced/medicinalPigeon pea Cajenus cahan Endemic/medicinalPugo-pugo Cyprus brevifolia IntroducedPutod Equisetum remisissinum EndemicRain tree Albizzia saman IntroducedRimas Artocarpus altilis Introduced/edibleRobusta Coffea robusta Introduced/edibleSabila Aloe barbadenses EndemicSalengangan Aletris spicata EndemicSampalok Tamarindus indica Endemic/edibleSantol Sandorium koetjape IntroducedSiniguelas Semecarpus purpurea Endemic/edibleStarapple/Cainito Chrysophyllum cainito Endemic/edibleTagulinaw Emilia sonchifolia Endemic

Table 3. Flora found in the rural and urban ecosystem in the Abra River Watershed.

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Trompa ng elepante Heliotropium indicum EndemicTubang-bakod Jattropha curcas IntroducedTunkod-pari Cordyline fruticosa EndemicUral Amaranthus spinosus EndemicYellow oleander Thevetia peruviana IntroducedYellow shower Cassia fructicosa Introduced

Table 3. Flora found in the rural and urban ecosystem in the Abra River Watershed.Source: Agroforestry Species of the Philippines Plants of the Philippines (Botany Book)

4. Cropland/Agricultural EcosystemThe cropland or agricultural ecosystems of Abra RiverWatershed are the areas of low to medium altitude, suchas the rice paddies, agricultural fields, gardens and waste-lands. Fifty-five species were identified growing in this

ecosystem. Four were introduced, one has medicinalvalue; fifty-one are endemic, three have medicinal val-ues. Almost all the identified species thriving in this eco-system are edible (Table 4).

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Ampalaya Momordica charantia EndemicApple Molus sp. EndemicBanana Musa sp. EndemicBataw Dolichos lablab EndemicBeans Paseolus sp. EndemicCabbage Brasscia sp. EndemicCafe Coffea sp. EndemicCalamansi Citrus madurensis Endemic/medicinalCassava Manihot esculante EndemicChayote Sechum edule EndemicCorn Zea maze EndemicCowpea Bigna sinensis EndemicCucumber Cucumis sativa EndemicDamong balang Dactylochtenium aegyptium EndemicEggplant Solanum melangena EndemicGabi Colocasia esculenta EndemicGarlic Allium sativum EndemicGinger Zingeber officinale EndemicGrapes Vitis spp. IntroducedKabatete Luffa acutangula EndemicKalabasa Cocorbita maxima Endemic/medicinalKangkong Ipomea sp. EndemicLansones Lansium domesticum EndemicLantana Lantana camara Introduced/medicinalLuya Zingiber officinale IntroducedMongo Mangifera indica EndemicMongo Phaseolus radiata EndemicMulberry Morus alba Endemico*kra Hibiscus esculantus EndemicOnion Allium cera EndemicPalay Oryza sativa EndemicPallang Psochocarpus spp. EndemicPapaya Carica papaya EndemicPatani Pheseolus lunatus EndemicPeanut Arachis hypoges EndemicPechay Brassica chinensis EndemicPigeon pea Cajenus cajan EndemicPineapple/pinya Anonas comosus EndemicSabong-sabong Paspalum flavidium EndemicSago/korente EndemicSaluyot Corchorus acutangulus EndemicSiling-labuyo Capsium frutescens EndemicSingsigne Drosera peltata Endemic/medicinal

Table 4. Flora in the upland ecosystem in the Abra River Watershed.

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Soybean Gycine maw EndemicSquash Cucurbita namins EndemicSugarcane Saccharium afficarum EndemicSunflower Helianthus anonus EndemicSweet potato Ipomea patatas EndemicTabungao Laganelia siceraria EndemicTikog Fimbrystillis globusola EndemicTimi Alloteropsis semialata EndemicTomato Lycopericon esculentum EndemicTugi Dioscorea spp. EndemicUbe Ipomeas spp. EndemicWatermelon Citriellus lanthus Introduced

Table 4 continued.Source: Common Medicinal Plant of Cordillera Region- CHESTCORE Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna, Vol. 14 Common grasses in the Cordillera- Research


Ants Solenopsis geminata EndemicBarklice EndemicBeetles Anthonomus grandis EndemicBlue naped parrot Tanygnatus lucionensis Endemic, game spButterflies Colias sp. EndemicFlies (scorpion) Bittacus sp. EndemicHoneybee Apis mellifera EndemicMaya Endemic, game sp.Philippine monkey Mocaca philippinensis EndemicPainted Quail Coturnix chinensis lineata Endemic, game sp.Philippine co*ckatoo Kakatoe haematuropygia Endemic, game sp.Philippine deer Cervus barandanus Endemic, game sp.Philippine grass owl Tyto capensis amauronota Endemic, game sp.Red jungle fowl Gallus gallus Endemic , game sp.Richard’s Pipit Anthus novaesesslandiae Endemic, game sp.Snake Ptubis sp. EndemicSpiders Salticus sp. EndemicTreehoppers Ceresa bubalus EndemicWild cat Feliz minuta EndemicWild pig Sus celebensis Phil. Endemic, endangered, game

B. Fauna

1. Forest EcosystemThere are twenty animal species in the forested areas of the river basin; ten of these were identified as endemic.Examples are snakes, butterflies, birds, wild cats and wild deer. Nine are game species; one is an endangered species(Table 5).

Table 5. Fauna in the forest ecosystem in the Abra River Watershed.Source: Zoology Book by Storer, et al. 6th ed.; John G. Tacloy, BSU Forestry Instructor

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2. Grassland Ecosystem

There are fourteen identified species under the grassland ecosystem. These are all endemic. Not any of these species isintroduced, endangered or has medicinal and aesthetic value. The bayawak, quail and edible frog were the identifiedspecies that have commercial value (Table 6).


Ant Solenopsis geminata EndemicBayawak Varanus salvador EndemicBees Anthidium sp. EndemicBullfrog Rana sp. EndemicButterfly Colias sp. EndemicFrog (edible) Rana sp. EndemicGrasshopper Melanoplus differentialis EndemicLizard Scelopopus magister EndemicQuail Coturnix conturnix EndemicRat Rattus sp. EndemicRichard’s pipit Anthus movaesee landiae EndemicSnail Helisoka sp. EndemicSnake Ptuophis sp. EndemicSpider Salticus sp. Endemic

Table 6. Fauna in the Grassland Ecosystem of Abra River WatershedSource: Zoology Book by Storer, et al. 6th ed. Wildlife in the Cordillera

3. Urban and Rural Ecosystem

Forty-three species of animals are present in the urban and rural ecosystem of Abra River Watershed. Thirty-five areendemic, five were introduced, while the rest (3) are migratory. From the total number, eighteen were identified asedible (Table 7).

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Ants Solenopsis germinata EndemicBat Eptesicus fuscua EndemicBees Anthidium sp. EndemicBeetle Anthronomous grandis EndemicBird lice Mallophaga spp. EndemicBiting lice Anoplura spp. EndemicBooklice Liposcells divinatoira EndemicBullfrog Rana sp. IntroducedButterfly Colias euretheme EndemicCarabao Bubalus bubalis EndemicCat Felis catrus EndemicCattle Chleofa*ga picta EndemicChicken Gallus gallus Endemicco*ckroaches Pacroblatia pennsylvanica EndemicCrow Corbus sp. EndemicDog Carnis familiaris EndemicDove Steelopopus sp. EndemicDuck Oritolagus cuniculus EndemicFlies Drosphila spp. EndemicFrog Rana sp. EndemicGoat Caparus hicus EndemicGoose Chloephaga picta IntroducedGrasshopper Melanoplus differentiale MigratoryHoneybee Apis wellifera IntroducedHorse Equus caballus EndemicLizard Meteageris gallopayo EndemicLocust Dissosteira carolina MigratoryMartines/Myna Acridotheses cristatelius IntroducedOwl Bubo virginianus EndemicPig Sus scrofa EndemicQuail Coturnim conturnim EndemicRabbit Sylvilagus spp. EndemicRat Ratus sp. EndemicRichard’s pipit Anthuss novaesee landae EndemicSheep Ovis aries IntroducedSnail Helisoma sp. EndemicSnake Bos taurus EndemicSpider Pachylomerus sp. EndemicSucking lice Polypax spinulosa EndemicSwallow Hirundo rustica MigratoryTermite Awitermes tubiformans EndemicTurkey Ptruophis sp. EndemicWeevils Hypera postica Endemic

Table 7. Fauna in the Rural and Urban Ecosystem of Abra River Watershed.Source: Zoology Book by Storer, et al. 6th ed.; John G. Tacloy, BSU Forestry Instructor

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4. Cropland/Agricultural Ecosystem

All the identified animal species in the cropland/agricultural ecosystem of Abra River Watershed are endemic. Becauseof the vegetative characteristics, most of the species living in the ecosystem belong to the animal kingdom. Example ofthese are snails, spiders, leeches and locust. Other species found in the area are the rats, snakes, lizards and edible frog.(Table 8).


Ant Solenopsis geminata EndemicAphids Aphis gossypil EndemicBees Anthidium sp. EndemicBeetles Scarabaeus sacer EndemicBull frog Rana sp. EndemicButterfly Colias sp. EndemicCorn Root Aphids Apis maidiradicis EndemicCrickets Grylltalpa hemadulacta EndemicDusil Coturnim coturnim EndemicFrog (edible) Rana sp. EndemicGrasshopper Melanoplus differentiales EndemicLeafhopper Empoasca fabae EndemicLeech Glossiponia sp. EndemicLizard Scelopopus magister EndemicLocust Dissoteria carolina EndemicMantis Stagromantis carolina EndemicRat Ratus sp. EndemicSnail Helisoka sp. EndemicSnake Ptuophiz sp. EndemicSpider Salticus sp. Endemic

Table 8. Fauna in the Cropland/Agricultural Ecosystem of Abra Watershed.Source: Zoology Book by Storer, et al. 6th ed. Wildlife in the Cordillera

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5. River Ecosystem

Seventeen animal species are also present in the river ecosystem; thirteen are endemic and four were introduced. Someof these identified species are tilapia, golden kuhol and the carp (Table 9).


Carpa/Milkfish Cayprinus carpio IntroducedCrabs Carcinedes maenas EndemicDamselflies Argia sp. EndemicDiving beetle Scarabaeus spp. EndemicDragonflies Anai junius EndemicEel Anguila rostrata EndemicFishflies Corydaluz sp. EndemicFrog (edible) Rana sp. EndemicGoby Globius sp. EndemicLeech Glossiphonia sp. EndemicMayflies Leptophlebia sp. EndemicShrimp Penaeus sp. IntroducedSnail (Golden) Kelisome sp. IntroducedStoneflies Brachyptera sp. EndemicTilapia Tilapia nilotica IntroducedTurtle Chaelydra serpentina EndemicWater scavenger beetle Hydrophilus triangularis Endemic

Table 9. Fauna in the River Ecosystem of Abra River Watershed.Source: Zoology Book by Storer, et al. 6th ed. Wildlife in the Cordillera

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effects of corporate mining on theabra river system (2002 report)

Why should we be concerned about theAbra River system?Yearly fish kills, death of domestic animals that drinkfrom its banks, skin disease among those who bathe in it,poor agricultural yield, disappearing fish and plant life –these are some of the complaints aired by communitiesliving along the banks of the Abra River. The existence ofrich river flora and fauna and the use of watercraft forsmall-scale trade even in the smaller rivers that the AbraRiver supplied are now only familiar in oral accounts. Isthe Abra River biologically dying? Is it on the brink ofenvironmental collapse? What will be the fate of the in-digenous peoples, peasants and fisherfolk living along itsbanks? Let us act now before it is too late.

What is the historical significance of the Abra River sys-tem to the peoples of the Cordillera and Ilocos Regions?With its headwaters originating from Mt. Data along theMountain Province-Mankayan, Benguet border and itsestuary situated in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, the Abra Rivertraverses the present Cordillera

The Abra River system has played a very significant rolein the socio-economic and cultural development of theIlocos and Cordillera regions even in pre-colonial times.Passing through Kankana-ey, Tinggian (or Itneg) andIlokano territories, the navigable river facilitated tradeand socio-cultural exchange not only between the uplandand lowland communities but also between the nativesand merchants from other Southeast Asian countries.Gold, honey, bees’ wax, rattan baskets and dyes from theCordillera were transported downstream to the ancientsettlement and trade center of Vigan. On the other hand,Iloko products such as handloom-woven (abel) fabrics, pot-

tery, vegetables, fruits, tubers, rice, various livestock,fish and salt, and various merchandise from other South-east Asian countries such as ceramics found their wayinto the Cordillera Central partly through the same river.

The villages along the Abra River system have also wit-nessed struggles against colonial domination. One of themore prominent accounts is that of the Tinio Brigade,which concentrated its troops at the villages on the mouthof the River at the turn of the 20th century to fight againstAmerican aggression.

Who is affected by the demise of the AbraRiver?The numerous communities along the Abra River andthe smaller rivers (which the former supplies) who de-pend mostly on farming and fishing as means of liveli-hood are greatly threatened. An estimated population of197,630 individuals or 38,321 households is presentlyaffected or at risk from immediate expansion plans of theLepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation (Lepanto/LCMCo).

To locate them in their regional context, these communi-ties belong to the Isnag, Tinggian, Kankana-ey, Bontokand Ibaloy which are five of at least eleven majorethnolinguistic groups in the Cordillera Region. Mean-while, the more heterogeneous non-Cordillera section ofthe regional population (composed of the dominantIlocanos and settlers from other Philippine provinces whor*side in the urban and more central towns) are a littleless than the indigenous population.

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(2) (67,679) (12,807)MOUNTAIN PROVINCE (3) (42,537) (8,170)ILOCOS SUR 7 38,841 7,664ABRA (excluding Dolores) 10 48,573 9,680TOTAL 18 121,916 23,839

(22) (197,630) (38,321)

*Numbers in ( ) include populations threatened by future expansion.

For the indigenous people, “Land is life.” It is not a com-modity to be bought or sold, nor is it a source of wealth tobe exploited and depleted. The river system serves as thelifeblood for sustainable subsistence production. For tra-ditional small-scale mining communities, waterways arealso very important. River systems are an integral com-ponent of the ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples.Thus, the land, the waterways and the resources theycontain must be cared for by the entire community.

To safeguard their ancestral domain, the indigenouspeoples have set up traditional institutions covering awide range of concerns: social organization, decision-mak-ing by elders, collective responsibility over the controland management of natural resources, economic coop-eration, and modes of dispute settlement. These centu-ries-old indigenous institutions (or the customary system)persist in varying degrees, oftentimes alongside the in-troduced institutions (under the state system or nationallaw).

What is the principal cause of the disinte-gration of the life support systems withinand surrounding the Abra river system?Large-scale mining operations in the area where the AbraRiver originates destroys the ecological balance not onlyof the river system itself but also of the four surroundingprovinces which it traverses.

Deforestation is also caused by mining operations, whichinclude the logging of timber for use as tunnel shoring oras fuel in the furnaces of ore-smelting and bullion-mint-

ing plants. The Abra River’s watersheds have all beendenuded primarily by large mining companies. First,the Sociedad Minero-Metallurgica Cantabro-Filipina felledhalf the pine timberstands of Mankayan. Afterwards, theSuyoc Mining Company and the Lepanto ConsolidatedMining Company decimated Mankayan’s remaining pineforests then extended their logging activities to neighbor-ing Benguet municipalities. Heald Lumber, a onetimesubsidiary of the present Benguet Corporation, harvestedpine timber for its mother company’s mines down south,in Itogon, from Mount Data, where the Abra River origi-nates. Heald also harvested timber from the mountainsof Bakun.A possible source of river poisoning is the use of chemicalpesticides and fertilizers that eventually find their wayinto the river. In Abra province, logging is also a cause ofconcern because it contributes to river siltation. The op-erations of the Cellophil Resources Corporation in the 1970sis a prime contributor to this deforestation. Some sourcesalso cite the July 1990 earthquake as a contributor tochanges in the Abra River’s flow.

How did corporate mining start along theAbra River?Corporate mining activities and its effects center aroundthe northernmost section of Mankayan in Benguet, thetri-boundary area of Ilocos-Mountain Province and Abra(where Besao and Tubo are located respectively), as wellas the eastern flanks of Ilocos Sur. These communitieshave long utilized their natural resource base for subsis-tence production. This is well-documented in the localhistories of Mankayan, Quirino, Tubtuba and Besao.

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The Spanish colonial period caused the dispersion of someof the villages, or consolidation of other dispersed settle-ments into compact villages. Mankayan was already in-volved in copper mining in the southern Kankana-ey re-gion, even before the establishment of the Sociedad Minero-Metallurgica Cantabro-Filipino de Mankayan in 1862.The Spanish company operated for 19 years.

The American colonial rule set into motion a process ofdispossession and displacement of the indigenous inhabit-ants of Mankayan. American prospectors belonging tothe American Colorado Volunteer Army organized a min-ing association. Several colonial laws such as the PublicLand Act of 1903 and the Mining Act of 1905 paved theway for the entry of American mining interests and theexpropriation of all public lands by the American govern-ment.A mining boom started in the 1930s. The increase of goldprices, the high gold content of the mine’s ore and theimproved access roads paved the way for large-scale min-ing operations to begin. In 1936, a group of prospectors ledby Victor Lednicky formed the Lepanto Consolidated Min-ing Company (LCMCo). The company built the country’sfirst copper plant, operating successfully as to draw inmigrants from the Ilocos provinces, Pangasinan and the

rest of Benguet and the Cordillera region.

While Mankayan developed a local economy based onwage labor related to mining operations, Cervantes andQuirino evolved into becoming a rice granary and cattlegrazing area for the southern Kankana-ey and Ilocos foot-hills. Thus has corporate mining become a major indus-trial and commercial influence in the lives of the com-munities not only in Mankayan but even for the widerriver basin that includes Cervantes, Quirino, and the riv-erine villages of Tubo, Abra.

Mitsui company operated the mine for 3 years duringthe Japanese occupation, in World War II. The LepantoConsolidated Mining Company resumed operations by1947. In the early 1980s, the Far Southeast porphyrycopper deposit was discovered. It is a huge but deep-seatedcopper deposit. In 1995, the LCMCo discovered high gradegold deposits (Victoria). Victoria gold operations com-menced in 1997. In that year, LCMCo produced 3,432.27kilos of gold which was valued at $36, 245, 852 or PHP1.47 B. This gold harvest and the production that con-tinues to the present produced the highest rates of profitsince the company started.

YEAR GOLD(kilograms) SILVER(kilograms) US $ PHP1997 3,432.27 2,831.98 36,245,852 1,465,000,0001998 4,531.78 3,561.35 43,472,002 1,834,000,0001999 3,940.81 4,553.55 36,123,710 1,407,000,0002000 5,444.52 11,054.18 48,905,939 2,125,000,0002001 7,964.36 22,280.06 47,624,808 2,375,000,0002002 3,249.31 4,067.52 36,217,552 1,810,877,600


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How has corporate mining adverselyaffected the Abra River system?Preliminary studies of the effects of corporate mining onthe Abra River have identified the following major ef-fects:

In terms of biodiversity, the loss of aquatic, plant and birdlife are great.

Physico-chemical analyses indicate that heavy metal con-tent in the waters and soil downstream from the miningoperations is elevated.

In terms of human health, toxic affects have been attrib-uted to direct exposure to mine drainage. Workers’ occu-pational health and safety is also a grave concern.

In terms of economic impact, there is loss of livelihood dueto the effects of industrial pollution on agriculture andfisheries.

In terms of social impact, there is destruction of indig-enous communities and their traditional systems, and

the introduction of commercialism and consumerism.Indigenous communities have been displaced from theirancestral lands by force, deceit or unfair laws.

In terms of biodiversity, what has been lost?The drainage area of the Abra River is home to about1689 species of plants belonging to 144 families, includ-ing 177 species of orchids in 47 genera. More than half(51.2%) of the plants found within the area are classifiedas endemics with 60.7% of all the orchids species classi-fied as such.

Benguet has the highest plant species diversity withinthe basin area while Ilocos Sur has the lowest with only120 of the total species found in the basin.The Environmental Investigatory Mission conducted inSeptember 2002 noted gross differences between the wa-terways located directly downstream from Lepanto min-ing operations and tributaries originating from sourceselsewhere.

From interviews, loss of aquatic and plant life in the areasdownstream, is reportedly most visible from Camay to

Comparison of Baguyos River (or-ange), which is downstream fromLepanto operations, and Apaoan River(clear), which originates elsewherefrom the Mountain Province

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Besayot. Information from APIT-TAKO (Alliance of Peas-ants in the Cordillera Homeland) has it that when LCMCostarted a fishpond project in Camay in March 2001, allthe fingerlings died after only 4 days. It is common knowl-edge among Besayot fishpond owners that if their pondsbecome contaminated with water from the MankayanRiver, 80% of the fingerlings will die as compared to theusual 20% or less.

Aquatic organisms like the udang (shrimp) and igat (eel)are reportedly becoming rare. Residents observe fish dis-ease and deterioration, aside from a drop in fish catch.Interviews similarly revealed abnormalities in fishcaught downstream, with the local people referring tothe deformity as “kurikong”. Fisherfolk near the mouthof the Abra River at Vigan and at Bantay, Ilocos Sur re-port making the same observation since six (6) years ago.The fishkill that occurs every rainy season is a familiarstory to most of the villages. On Good Friday 2003,fishkills were reported in Quirino, Ilocos Sur. On 17 May2003, another fishkill was reported in Manabo, Luba andTubo, Abra.

The loss in aquatic life is a major change in the life sup-port system of the communities who used to rely solely onfreshwater resources for day-to-day food.

Not only are household livelihood sources seriously de-stroyed and disrupted because of the ecological effects ofindustrial pollution, but so is the general biodiversity sta-tus of the local communities damaged, thus causing break-downs in the food web. Among the changes that were re-ported is the disappearance of once-common birds andtree species. Among the bird species reported to now berarely seen are: pagaw, tuklaw, and kannaway. Treessuch as the kamantires and burbala were also identified tobe no longer found in significant quantities. Particularlyin Camay, for instance, it is reported that trees and snowpeas planted along the banks of the Abra River do not bearfruit anymore.

What poisons are found in the Abra River?In a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency,it was estimated that one-half of waste generated by minesis mining waste while one-third is tailings. The most seri-ous problem is Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) which comes

from both surface and underground mine workings, wasteand development rock, tailings piles and tailings ponds.

AMD is “metal-rich water formed from chemical reactionbetween water and rocks containing sulfur-bearing min-erals”. Dissolved iron and sulfuric acid is formed from theexposure of pyrite (an iron sulfide) rock to air and water.AMD has a low pH, increased acidity, elevated heavymetals, sulfate and total dissolved solid components. Thelow pH water is capable of solubilizing heavy metals con-tained within the waste rock. The pH conditions that havebeen proven deadly to aquatic life are those that fall be-low 3 while the prescribed pH range for agricultural landsis between 6 to 9.

Foreign authorities apply more stringent standards. Ac-cording to the Environmental Quality Institute of theUniversity of North Carolina-Ashville, natural pH instreams should be in the range of 6.5-7.2. Because organ-isms in aquatic environments have adapted to these natu-ral conditions, even small fluctuations in pH can inter-fere with their reproduction or kill them outright.

The results of chemical tests on water samples during theEnvironmental Investigatory Mission held in September2002 are as follows:

Water samples from all sites registered pH values rang-ing from 8-9 except for the sample from the impound-ment that gave a pH reading of 5. The latter is expectedsince the impoundment serves as the catchment basin ofmining wastes. The observation that the rest of the watersamples gave pH values in the alkaline range could be aresult of the liming of the water in the impoundment as away of neutralizing the acidic species collected in the im-poundment. However, there is no indication how regulartreatment is applied on the impoundment so as to estab-lish if the treatment is consistent and effective. (Based onthe observation of the Environmental Investigatory Teamat the liming site, there is a single worker per shift apply-ing lime to the mine drainage. The worker is not requiredto follow any strict guidelines nor is any testing done asbasis for how much lime is applied.)

Other evidence indicates that water pH is not maintainedwithin the optimal range throughout the year:

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(a) The low pH of mine drainage is capable of solubilizingheavy metals. This corrosive property of the MankayanRiver is common knowledge among residents in surround-ing communities. One resident who used gravel from theMankayan River for construction of his house reportedthat the steel bar reinforcements were corroded after afew months.

(b) As AMD flows away from its source, discoloration ofthe streambed in its path occurs as solid metal hydroxidesprecipitate. This process is probably responsible for thereddish orange discoloration that is evident along theMankayan River.

(c) Sulfuric acid is also probably responsible for the ‘rot-ten eggs’ (septic) smell that residents report when mine

tailings are released into the Mankayan River duringheavy rainfall.

(d) Residents who have eaten fish during times of fish killreport that these taste sour.

Consider the heavy metal levels obtained by the Envi-ronmental Investigatory Mission and Lepanto (as re-ported during their June 2003 Press Conference) whencompared with the US Environmental Protection AgencyNational Recommended Water Quality Criteria (2002)*:(These standards represent “criteria for water quality ac-curately reflecting the latest scientific knowledge. . .based solely on data and scientific judgments on the rela-tionship between pollutant concentrations and en-vironmental and human health effects.”)

Reddish-orange discoloration of the river along the outlet of Lepanto Mine Tailings Dam 5A

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Lead 0.2 0.065 0.0025 0.02 ND 0.1Mercury 0.005 0.0014 0.00077 ND ND BDLCadmium 0.05 0.0020 0.0025 0.0020 ND 0.01Copper No standard 0.013 0.009 0.67 0.17 0.2Arsenic 0.05 0.340 0.150 ND ND BDL

Analyte DENRStandard1995mg/L

US EPAStandard





Down-stream at



Lepanto(date ofcollec-




BDL=below detectable limits; ND=none determined/below detectable limitsCMC=Criteria Maximum Concentration (highest concentration of a material in surface water to which an aquaticcommunity can be exposed briefly without resulting in an unacceptable result)CCC=Criterion Continuous Concentration (highest concentration of a material in surface water to which anaquatic community can be exposed indefinitely without resulting in an unacceptable effect)

More LEAD is absorbed by children and persons deficientin calcium, iron and vitamin D (as may be found amonglow-income groups as those living along the Abra River).Lead can cause convulsions, memory deficits, personal-ity changes and nerve damage (wrist or foot drop). Itsmost deleterious effect is on the developing fetus and grow-ing children, where even minute amounts can adverselyaffect IQ level and over-all mental development. On theother hand, chronic exposure to COPPER causes damageto the liver and kidneys. CADMIUM also causes damage tothe kidneys and lungs, and is suspected to be a cancer-causing agent.

A primary cause for concern is the use of CYANIDE incorporate mining. Lepanto uses cyanide to extract gold –an estimated 3,000 kg of cyanide every 24 hours.

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How is the health of the communitiesalong the Abra River affected by industrialpollution?The most common signs and symptoms felt by residentswho have inhaled chemical fumes emanating from minedrainage are: headache, dizziness, cough, chest pain, na-sal and eye irritation. Other symptoms reported were itch-ing of the skin, rashes and diarrhea. As reported earlierby APIT TAKO, as far as Quirino, Ilocos Sur residents re-port that wounds take longer to heal when exposed to theAbra River.

Because of past adverse reactions, it is common knowl-edge and practice among the communities to avoid con-tact with river water. They do not allow their children tobathe in the river. Nor do they allow their animals todrink from it.

There were also suspicious cases of birth defects such ascerebral palsy, dwarfism and developmental delay. Somespontaneous abortions were also reported.

Cancer (malignancy or malignant neoplasms) is also acause for further study. Cancer is among the top 3 causesof mortality in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and Mankayan,Benguet. While cancer is multifactorial, the long-term(almost 7 decades) exposure of residents to mine drainagefrom the operations of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Cor-poration is a significant factor to consider. The use ofpesticides in these agricultural areas must be investigatedas a possible etiology as well.

The more subtle impact of loss of food resources on thenutritional status of residents of the area has not beendocumented either. Furthermore, malnutrition makespeople more vulnerable to the toxic effects of some heavymetals and chemicals.

How is the people’s livelihood affected?The reports from previous documentation and researchby APITTAKO and confirmed by interviews during theEnvironmental Investigatory Mission revealed the fol-lowing trends in livelihood systems :

1. Decreased agricultural yieldResidents of Malideg, Quirino report a 30% decrease inthe yield of traditional rice varieties especially since theaccumulation of industrial mining and pollution. For acommunity previously known to be the rice granary fora much larger sub-region, the yield drops are attributedto several reasons: siltation of the rivers, deterioration ofsoil quality, stunted growth, diseased plant varieties.

The cropping area has been reduced by as much as 50% asthe sediment of thick, black or cement-like soil continu-ously piles up in the middle of riverways, thus forcing thewater to flow into the cropped sections of the flatlands.Residents of Camay and Kayan in Pilapil, meanwhile,observe the stunted growth of rice stalks from 70 cm toonly 30-40 cm. Harvests, according to a number of infor-mants, are significantly lower in areas directly exposedto the run-off from the Mankayan River.

The drop in rice yields was first observed in the 1980s asa result of the typhoons between 1988-1989 which led tothe destruction of the Tailings Dams 1, 2, and 3. It wasreported that LCMCo was made liable for the destructionof the rice fields due to siltation and the hardening of thesoils because of the sediments, thus making the land unfitfor agricultural purposes. The tailings harden like ce-ment along the river bed. It causes widening andshallowing of the Mankayan River such that there isbackflow to its tributaries. This is especially evident inthe junction of the Ap-apid and Abra Rivers (in Awweg)where the backflow extends 1 km. As a result, 10 hectaresof farmlands have been destroyed.

During one instance when the tailings dam collapsed in atyphoon in the late 1980s, one person was compensatedby the company for damages in the amount of P25,000.00for some 17 hectares of damaged lands – a measly figurewhich would have been re-appealed had the governmentstepped in to facilitate the community’s demand for rec-ompense.

Among the agriculturists and foresters in the Environ-mental Investigatory Mission team, the black soil exam-ined in Cabiten, commonly perceived to be fertile, was

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reported to have poor plant growth. Similarly, cowpeasand corn are reported not to prosper, while banana fruitsare likewise diseased when grown in these locations nearthe impoundment.

Water draining into the ricefields was found to be odor-ous. While further studies need to be undertaken to lookmore closely into the connection between the abnormalplant growth and the operations of LCMCo, initial obser-vation and interview data point to industrial pollution asimmediate change factor in the deteriorating quality ofthe agricultural ecosystem.

A soil sample taken by the Environmental InvestigatoryMission Team in September 2002 showed elevated levelsof arsenic and copper in Sitio Camay, Cervantes, IlocosSur where the rice plants were observed to be growingabnormally. The effects of copper have been describedabove. Arsenic, on the other hand, is a proven cause ofhuman cancers.2. Deterioration of riparian lifeThe loss in aquatic life, as previously discussed, is a majorchange in the life support system of the communities whoused to rely solely on freshwater resources for day-to-dayfood.

The site where Lepanto’s mine tailings are released fromits mill used to be known as Maudangan (place of manyshrimps). Today, the water is a thick, grayish muck.

3. Death of domestic animalsFor an area previously known to have enjoyed extensivegrasslands as to hold more than a thousand heads of cattleat any time before the 1960s, the absence of cows andcarabaos nowadays is indicative of a serious loss in foodand cash resources. Animals who drink from theMankayan River down to the Abra River after heavybbrains are reported to die a few days after exposure, withtheir intestines filled with what appears to be hardenedmud. The linings of the intestines appear burnt andcrumble easily.

Governor Vicente Valera, Jr. of Abra also spoke of similarincidents, “Way back in the late eighties, we experiencedhere in Abra, particularly in the municipalities of Luba andManabo, where some livestock – carabao, cattle, died afterdrinking from the Abra River.”

What other disasters have been linked tocorporate mining operations?Before 1936, farmers in the surrounding localities re-ported high yields of indigenous crops. Migrants from theMountain Province and Ilocos Sur would come to helpharvest the bountiful crops. Non-agricultural areas wereoccupied by large trees such as damortis and acacia. TheMankayan River was then 20-30 feet wide.

When the LCMCo commenced operations, they dumpedmine tailings and waste straight into the river. It was

Abnormal growth of rice in Sitio Camay, Cervantes; September 2002

Analyte Standard Value* Soil at CamayLead 5-25 mcg/g 2.8 mcg/gMercury 0.02-0.625 0.06Cadmium ? NDCopper 2-250 347Arsenic 0.2-40 64


* “Standard Treatment Guidelines for Occupational Poisoning”,National Poison Control and Information Service, University of thePhilippines College of Medicine-Philippine General Hospital andNon-Communicable Disease Control Service, Department of Health

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only in the 1960s when the Tailings Dam No. 1 was builtin Nasulian, Paco. It was abandoned after less than 10years and the land became unsuitable for agriculture.Tailings Dam No. 2 was constructed in the 1970s in Lipa-an, Paco. Its collapse caused the contamination of nearbyricefields. Tailings Dam No. 3 and a diversion tunnel gaveway in 1986 during a strong typhoon.

Aside from contaminating adjacent rice fields, the spilledtailings encroach on riverbanks downstream. They de-stroy ricefields located along the riverbanks. They alsocause the riverbed to rise and the polluted waters tobackflow into other tributaries of the Abra River system,including those in the Mountain Province.

In 1985, a copper ore dryer was installed by the LCMCo inBarangays Paco, Colalo and Cabiten. Local residentsstarted complaining of abnormal withering of crops. Do-mestic animals died after exhibiting signs of illness. There

was a high rate of respiratory diseases. The LCMCo wasforced to close down the dryer in the face of people’s oppo-sition.

In 1993, another spillway collapse following a typhoonwas documented.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department ofEnvironment and Natural Resources (DENR-MGB) hasdocumented the sinking of areas in Mankayan, rangingfrom 1 cm. in 1994 to up to 1 meter per year.

In July 1999, heavy rains triggered a major mass move-ment involving 14 hectares in Colalo, Mankayan. TheColalo Elementary School was buried and 1 resident died.Lepanto had been quarrying the area in connection withthe construction of Tailings Dam 5A. This disaster wasdocumented by the National Institute for Geological Stud-ies based in the University of the Philippines (Diliman).

Site of the Colalo Elementary School (only the roof is visible at present) after the massive groundsubsidence occurred.

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At present Tailings Dam 5A is operational. The surround-ing communities continue to raise doubts regarding itssafety, given the decades-long history of tailings damscollapse in the area and all around the world. Lepantoboasts that Tailings Dam 5A has been certified as being“world class” by the Australian firm Woodward-Clyde.(Woodward-Clyde, now renamed URS, is the same firmwhich was commissioned by the Philippine governmentto study the toxic waste contamination in Clark and Subic.The government later used this report to describe the prob-lem in Subic as “minimal”. Other experts denounce theWoodward-Clyde report as “terribly designed” and “anattempt to spend the most amount of money to producethe least amount of results.”)

But isn’t the whole economy benefitingfrom the operations of Lepanto as it is alsoFilipino owned?Lepanto boasts that its mining operations are significantto Philippine economic development. The company isthe country’s top producer of both gold and copper, twovery valuable exports. Its mines are among the very fewlarge mines in the country that have remained in Fili-pino hands. These mines employ thousands of Filipinos atwages that are the highest in the local mining industry.

True, Lepanto is predominantly Filipino-owned. Only12.5% of the company is held by a transnational, PacificMining Limited. A total of only 39.9% of company stocksis held by foreign investors.

A consultant from RTZ (formerly Rio Tinto Zinc) also sitson the Lepanto Board of Directors.

But investment is not the only means through which for-eign capitalists may profit from the operations of Lepanto.Credit financing is another means by which foreign capi-talists have profited from Philippine mining. Credit fi-nancing may take the form of an outright loan, extendedwith or without securities, payable on the long or shortterm, at specific rates of interest, depending on the agree-ment forged between the financier and the mining com-pany. Interests comprise the profit. Securities may re-sult in the financier’s acquiring the properties of the min-ing company, including its mining patents, if any.

Credit financing may also take the form of a gold-hedgingfacility. A mining company may borrow money againstit* anticipated inventory of gold bullion. It approaches afinancing house engaged in gold hedging – i.e., buyingand selling gold today at prices speculated for tomorrow.The financing house valuates the mining company’s an-ticipated gold inventory at an anticipated price for ananticipated time, taking into account a margin for profit.The financing house then loans the value to the miningcompany.

The Victoria Gold Project of Lepanto is partially financedby long-term credit arrangements with big foreign cor-porations. Lepanto has a Loan and Hedging Facility Agree-ment with NMRothschild and the Dredsner Bank AG whichallows the company to borrow up to $30 million plus thevalue of 300,000 ounces of gold bullion. It has other long-term loans with other financing institutions, totallingmore than $25 million as of yearend 2001.

NMRothschild is the biggest mercantile financing housein the world of mining; it is the #1 bullion trader on theLondon Metal Exchange, where a large majority of theworld’s gold is bought and sold. Dredsner and another ofLepanto’s bankers, Citibank, are similarly giants in worldfinancing.

What about Lepanto’s workers? Aren’tthey benefiting?Lepanto’s workers get very little of the wealth they cre-ate. The company’s production figures for the year 2001show the following:

To illustrate:


Gross Profits PhP 2,379,013,000.00Wages Paid to Workers PhP 89,971,050.00

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Lepanto has steadily been decreasing its regular workforcebecause it has increasingly mechanized its operations andresorted to labor contractualization. From nearly 7,000persons in 1981, the regular workforce has dwindled toless than 2,000 persons.

The maintenance of workers’ health and safety is anotheraspect which Lepanto has not been paying attention to.(Please refer to Annex E for a study of the occupationalhealth and safety of Lepanto mineworkers.)

The surrounding communities have also gained little fromLepanto’s so-called community projects. Compared to itsaverage gross earnings of P2 billion a year for the VictoriaGold Project alone, Lepanto spent a mere P16.4 million ayear for its social development projects from 1996-2000.It claims to have reforested 250 hectares of land since1996, yet it owns timber concessions amounting to13,000 hectares in Benguet and 6,320 hectares in IlocosSur.

Is the pollution caused by corporate min-ing in Benguet an isolated case?By no means is the pollution wrought by Lepanto on theAbra River system an isolated case. All over the world,corporate mining has wreaked havoc on the environmentand the surrounding communities. The World Informa-tion Service on Energy (WISE) Uranium Project has docu-mented at least 77 cases of tailings dams collapses in theworld from 1961 to 2002. Prominent tailings dam col-lapses in the Philippines are those involving the DizonCopper Silver Mines, Inc. in San Marcelino, Zambales (Au-gust and September 2002), Manila Mining Corporationin Placer, Surigao del Norte (April 1999 and September1995), Placer Dome Inc. in Marinduque Island (March1996), Philex Mining Corporation in Padcal, Luzon (Janu-ary 1992), and Marinduque Mining and Industrial Cor-poration in Sipalay, Negros Occidental (November 1982).

Why is this allowed to happen all over thePhilippines?From the colonial period to the present government, theCordillera region remains a resource base for extractionand exploitation of its human, natural and cultural re-

sources for local and foreign business interests, in part-nership with the national government. On the otherhand, indigenous peoples have been systematically andhistorically marginalized. Laws and policies on land andresources under the context of the colonial Regalian Doc-trine treated indigenous peoples of the Cordillera as ‘squat-ters’ in their own land. Even with the enactment of theIndigenous Peoples Rights Act, (IPRA), systematic viola-tion of the indigenous peoples’ collective rights continuesto prevail.

The continuing thrust and implementation of destruc-tive projects and deceptive programs on mining, damsand energy projects, mega-tourism, logging, Official De-velopment Aid (ODA) and special economic zones havebeen hyped up and actively pursued in the name of ‘na-tional development’ and ‘national interest’. These areoutrightly violating the collective rights of indigenouspeoples to their ancestral lands and resources and theirsovereignty over their territories.

At present, a total of 155,747 hectares of the Cordilleraregion is covered by mining applications of local andmultinational mining companies, already being processedfor approval, while applications for more than 13,167hectares of mineral land have already been approved.

In line with the policies of imperialist globalization, tradeliberalization in particular, the Philippine governmenthas been consistent in trying to attract foreign mininginvestors. The Mining Act of 1995 grants the following tomining companies: timber rights (the right to cut downforests), water rights (the right to divert water sources),easem*nt rights (the right to drive out communities thatinterfere with mining operations) full repatriation of capi-tal invested, as well as tax holidays.

Lepanto alone has been responsible for taking over 4,212hectares or 28% of Mankayan land that used to belong tothe indigenous peoples. It has been allowed to do so by thenational government through the declaration ofMankayan as a Mining District. Mineral Production Shar-ing Agreements have also been granted by the govern-ment to Lepanto, allowing it to conduct exploration activi-ties in 9,561 hectares in Bontoc and Tadian, Mt. Province.

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At present, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is pushing for the passage of the National Miner-als Policy (NMP) – an administrative order that signifies President Macapagal-Arroyo and the executive branch’sendorsem*nt of the mining industry. The government hopes to generate $242 million in investments from 12mining projects, and $147 million in potential revenues annually. But this will surely result in even more destruc-tion and plunder of lands and resources in the Cordillera.

Is there something we can do?A lot! If people are really united on a single issue, we can make a difference for the environment, for the indigenouspeoples and peasants in the area. Ultimately, it would be us who would be affected and ultimately it will be a unitedpeople who can effect significant changes now and in the future. As the saying goes, small drops of rain precipitatesinto a gentle shower of change and renewal. We can band together a large group of people, beginning with those whoare most affected, to Save the Abra River! People from all walks of life, beginning with the farmers, the indigenouspeoples, workers, students, lawyers, church people, teachers, professionals, and even sympathetic government unitsand line agencies can link arms to stop the devastation of the Abra River. In fact, this effort is now growing in the Savethe Abra River Movement.

The communities directly affected and/or threatened by the operations of Lepanto have been voicing out theirprotests for a long time . . .


1956 Cervantes; Quirino Start of petitions questioning Lepanto pollution1970 San Emilio; Tubo; Besao These communities file their own petitions1988 Cabiten; Colalo Protest vs. copper ore dryer1991 Cabiten; Colalo Barricade to stop construction of Tailings Dam 5A1998 Sapid Protest vs. sinking residences1999 Tabbac Barricade vs. drilling operations

Several more people’s protest groups, such as MAQUITACDEG (Mankayan-Quirino-Tadian-Cervantes Danggayan aGunglo), AM-IN (Am-a ya In-a ay Manakem id AMPIS/ Elders Conference), MALEX (Mankayan Against LepantoExpansion), TAMA NA ITO (Tadian Movement Against Nepotism, Abuses, Injustice, Transgression and Oppression)and the Quirino People’s Summit Convenors Group have been set up in recent months.

Even the Lepanto mineworkers are dissatisfied with the way management has been treating them. From February1 to March 2, 2003 they launched their own successful strike action. They protested against management policieswith regards to a new job classification scheme, compulsory holiday work, early reporting time for undergroundworkers and labor only contracting.

major references:Environmental Investigatory Mission (Preliminary Phase) Report, UP Pahinungod et.al., September 2002.Baseline Profile of the Abra River Systems (draft), Save the Abra River Movement, April 2003.Dagiti Epekto ti Panagminas iti Mankayan ken kadagiti Kabangibangna a Lugar, APIT TAKO (Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng-Kordilyera), 2002.

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Major human rights issues for Philippineindigenous peoplesResource management and sustainable development (Para-graph 35)

“. . . The operations of the Lepanto Victoria gold mine inMankayan, Benguet province (Luzon), has disrupted thelives of indigenous communities in the area, who com-plain about serious environmental deterioration, healthhazards due to the discharge of toxic wastes and tailings,disregard for indigenous land resource rights, non-com-pliance with the principle of free and prior consent, anddisruption of traditional lifestyles and livelihoods. Pollu-tion of the river, rice-paddies, destruction of fruits andcattle, and potable water shortage for indigenous peoplesin the area were also mentioned. A dam with tailings hadcollapsed some years before, causing extensive damage,and the community fears that yet another dam mightcollapse, which would further impact the environment.The activities of the mining company were blamed for therecent collapse of an elementary school, which appearedto have been caused by ground subsidence as a result ofquarrying to gather material for the raising of a tailingsdam. The communities oppose the proposed expansion ofthe company’s activities in their area, and complain thatthe (Philippine) Government and the existing laws accordprivileges to the mining enterprise instead of recognizingthe rights of the indigenous peoples set forth in the IPRA(Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act).

During a visit to the Victoria mine, the Special Rappor-teur was informed by mining executives and given docu-mentation detailing the technical aspects of the opera-tion. He was told that the company abides by strict inter-

Excerpts from the “Report of the Special Rapporteuron the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms

of indigenous peoples”,submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 5 March 2003

national standards of environmental management, andhe also spoke with family members of the local mine work-ers who explained that were it not for the mine they wouldprobably be out of work altogether. While no doubt somecommunity members have benefited from the mine’s op-eration, others who attempt to maintain their traditionalways of life have indeed suffered. They despair of the factthat their needs and interests were not taken into accountwhen mining operations were decided upon, and they fearthe company’s intention to expand its activities in thefuture. Those who have worked in the mine complain oflow wages and sub-standard working conditions.”

Executive summaryIn view of the above, the Special Rapporteur makes thefollowing recommendations to the Government of the Phil-ippines and other parties:

. . .that resolving land rights issues should at all timestake priority over commercial development. There needsto be recognition not only in law but also in practice of theprior right of traditional communities. The idea of priorright being granted to a mining or other business com-pany rather than to a community that has held and caredfor the land over generations must be stopped, as it bringsthe whole system of protection of human rights of indig-enous peoples into disrepute. Bringing justice to indig-enous communities in the area of land rights is the greathistorical responsibility of the present Government of thePhilippines.”

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Indigenous Peoples Rights Act: a newbeginningConflict of Laws (Paragraph 22)

“The protection of indigenous rights may be hampered,however, by the conflict of laws between the 1995 MiningAct and IPRA. The right of indigenous peoples to theirancestral domains and lands and natural resources foundtherein is in fact limited by section 56 of IPRA, whichprovides that property rights within the ancestral do-mains already existing and/or vested shall be recognizedand respected. Thus, mining companies licensed by the

Government under the 1995 Mining Act continue to op-erate in these domains despite opposition by indigenouscommunities and organizations. Indigenous representa-tives in the Cordillera region complained to the SpecialRapporteur that the interests of business enterprises un-der the Mining Act are better protected than their rightto their ancestral lands.”

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quick facts and figures

121,916 individuals23,839 households

197,630 individuals38,321 households

309 mining claims4,212 hectares28% of Mankayan land area

7,964.36 kgPhP 2,375,000,000

7.13 grams/ ton of ore

3,000 kg/ day

1,500 tons/ day

433,410 hectares24% of total CAR land area

13,167 hectares

Number of People Affected by Lepanto Operations

Number of People Affected by Lepanto Operations orThreatened households by its Expansion

Lepanto Mining Claims

Amount of Gold Produced by Lepanto (2001)

Estimated Gold Yield

Amount of Cyanide Used

Estimated Mine Wastes Produced

Pending Mining Applications in the Cordillera Region

Approved Mining Applications in the Cordillera Region

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Gold is currently the most lucrative investmentsector in the mining industry. Global demand forgold increased from 3,573 tons in 1992 to 3,642tons in 1995. Gold exploration dominates mininginvestment portfolios across the world. In 1995, 55%of the available funds went into gold exploration. Asurvey conducted by the East-West Center in 1990shows that 97% of the mining companies rank goldas the number one exploration target. An updateof the survey in 1997 confirms that gold remainsas the most coveted mineral of the 1990s.

The new gold-rush era may be understood withinthe context of the global economic crisis. Gold is apeculiar commodity that reacts inversely to crisis.During global economic recession, demand for goldincreases. In times of wars and currency turmoil,the price of gold increases. But when interest ratesare high and inflation seems under control, the goldmarket “bottoms out”. Gold is the traditional storeof value – a fail-safe currency against bad times.Investors buy gold when prospects of other assetsare risky.

the new gold rush era

Excerpts from “Globalizing Philippine Mining”, chapter 2,by Antonio Tujan, Jr. and Rosario Bella Guzman, IBON Foundation Inc., 2002

Jewelry fabricators are the biggest consumers ofmined gold. In 1995, they accounted for 84% of goldconsumption. Demand is strongest in Asia and so-called tiger economies. In India, the traditional dow-ries of brides and the emergence of middle class en-hance demand for gold as a symbol of status. In WestAsia, Indonesia and Latin America, jewel workshopsare increasing in importance. More than adorn-ment, jewelry is an important store of value.

Gold is indestructible. Some 600 tons of “scrap” goldare recycled annually and 90% of all mined gold isavailable for reuse. It is also uniquely malleableand ductile, and an unrivalled conductor of elec-tricity. Thus, demand from telecommunications,computers and automobiles is modestly expanding.Meanwhile, industry and medicine account for about12% of annual gold demand.

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Cyanide is the most popular chemical used by miningcorporations to extract gold from ore, despite the fact thatleaks or spills of this chemical are extremely toxic to fish,plant life and human beings.

Cyanide combines with up to 97% of gold, including par-ticles of gold that are too small to be seen by the nakedeye. This makes it a very efficient process chemical forthe extraction of the metal. Cyanide leaching was pro-moted by the United States Bureau of Mines to replace theolder mercury amalgamation processes. It involves spray-ing a sodium cyanide solution on finely ground ore. Thegold forms a water-soluble chemical compound with thecyanide called a “pregnant solution” which is then runover activated carbon to extract the gold. Some compa-nies process the ore in vats allowing the cyanide to berecycled.

A teaspoonful of 2% solution of cyanide can kill a humanadult.

Concentrations as low as 5 mcg/L have been found to in-hibit fish reproduction. Toxicity increases with any re-duction in dissolved oxygen below 100%.

Mining companies say that cyanide in water rapidlybreaks down in the presence of sunlight and oxygen. Cya-nide swallowed by fish will not “bio-accumulate”.

What mining companies don’t tell you is that cya-nide solution will not break down when it seeps under-

cyanide: gold’s killing companion

ground, under cloudy or rainy conditions such as are seenin tropical countries. If the cyanide solution is slightlyacidic, it can turn into cyanide gas, which is extremelytoxic. Furthermore, if the solution is alkaline the cyanidedoes not break down.

Many of the breakdown compounds (of cyanide), are stilltoxic to aquatic organisms, and may persist in the envi-ronment for significant periods of time.

Cyanate may persist in water for significant, but unde-fined periods of time. Ammonia, another breakdown prod-uct, is considered to be about as toxic to fish as cyanide.

Excerpts from “The Gold Album: Action Pack—Cyanide by Project Underground; www.moles.org/ ProjectUnderground/reports/ goldpack/goldpack_i.html

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facts on rio tinto zinc (rtz)

Rio Tinto is the world’s most powerful mining corpora-tion. It is also one of the largest gold mining companies inthe world today.

Rio Tinto has also been known as a company that fails torespect the indigenous peoples, the trade unions and en-vironmental groups. The International Federation ofChemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers’ Unionsbased in Belgium has come up with several case studies inits 1998 Stakeholders’ Report (Rio Tinto: Behind theFaçade) to illustrate this:

1. Failure to respect indigenous peoples’ rights

Grasberg/ Freeport copper and gold mine (Indone-sia)Between December 1996 and October 1997, 16 peoplebecame victims of human rights violations during mili-tary operations tasked to crush the Free Papua Movementand secure the PT Freeport Indonesia project. Rio Tintoprovided 40% of the capital for the expansion of thisproject. The mine subsidises the Indonesian security forcesto the tune of $30 million per annum. The massive envi-ronmental damage caused by this project is most felt bythe Amungme and Komoro indigenous peoples.

Bougainville copper mine (Papua New Guinea)Beginning in the early 1960s, CRA/RTZ began occupy-ing the ancestral domain of the Moroni, Guava, Pakiaand other sub-clans. The company was forced to abandonin 1989 when a dispute over environmental damage andprofits from the copper mine led to a 10 year civil war.

Kelian gold mine, IndonesiaIndigenous Dayak people had linked up with the Indone-sian Environmental Forum (WALHI) and Community AidAbroad to document and publicise the social and environ-mental damage wrought by the mines. There is a signifi-cant acid drainage problem, with manganese levels 200times the level permitted in drinking water in the Euro-

(formerly Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia/ CRA)

pean Union. Another significant problem is the amountof cyanide present in water discharged from the site.

2. Failure to ensure health, safety and workersrights

Lassing talc mine, AustriaIn July 1998 ten men were drowned or buried alive. Theywere sent into the collapsing pit in order to secure it, butin the guise of rescuing the one mineworker who was al-ready trapped.

Rossing uranium mine, NamibiaFormer employees have been seeking compensation forcancers they have developed because of years spent work-ing in clouds of crushed, radioactive uranium withoutfacemasks.

Weipa bauxite mine, AustraliaThe company has been found guilty of discriminatingagainst workers on the basis of union membership. Overthe Christmas 1998 period, the company asked them towork for free, in exchange for a favourable annual perfor-mance assessment.

3. Failure to adhere to environmental policy

Grasberg gold and copper mine, AustraliaThe Indonesian government approved the expansion ofthe Grasberg mine in April 1998. An equivalent of a 10-ton truckload of tailings, contaminated by toxic heavymetals, would then be dumped into the Ajikwa river sys-tem every three seconds. This would not have been al-lowed in any developed country.

Capper Pass tin smelter, EnglandThis is the largest tin smelter in the world. Over 54 yearsof operation, it routinely discharged heavy metals andradioactive materials into the surrounding countryside.The discharges may have contributed to an increase in

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lepanto mining in mankayan

MANKAYAN, BENGUET-Mornings are golden high up theCordillera mountains. Here, timecreeps so slowly you need to checkyour wristwatch constantly tomake sure the day hasn’t snuckpast you while you meditate uponmist-covered vegetable terracesand idly listen to Americancountry music - as staple here ascold rice for breakfast. But it isdeceiving, this languid splendor.

And the urgency is etched uponthe weathered faces of Mankayanpeasants in Benguet Provinceselling vegetables at thePoblacion at below-cost prices,the miners hurrying to get totheir shift, mothers tending totheir young. It is written onposters announcing recruitmentdates for overseas work for domestic helpers in Hong Kong and Singapore. The urgency lies like an abandoned tunnelbeneath the surface of Cordillerans waiting to cave in. It quivers in the voices of community leaders concerned aboutthe future of their ancestral lands as they hear tunnels being drilled below their homes and farmlands at night, andthey know that toxic mine tailings are dumped daily into their rivers and streams — the lifeblood of their community.Because while gold, copper and silver are mined in abundance in the bowels of these mountains, its inhabitantsremain among the poorest of the poor.

A sign greets visitors of Mankayan at the junction to Bulalacao: “Five kilometers yonder is a gold mine calledVictoria.” For many of its struggling residents, this invitation to awe is cold and empty like the late evenings here.The municipality of Mankayan, Benguet Province is about five hours by bus from Baguio City, or 95 kilometers ofalternately paved and loose gravel winding roads carved on the side of the mountains. It is composed of 12 barangayscovering 16,336 hectares with a total population of 34,502 individuals or 6,495 households. This is home to theKankanaeys, other Igorot communities who have settled here, and lowlanders who work in the mines. Mankayan isalso host to Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo), the 66-year-old company that operates on 301 miningclaims covering 4,008 hectares within the Mankayan Mineral District. (Lepanto also operates two pine forest timberconcession in Benguet and Ilocos Sur covering an area of 20,000 hectares.) The LCMCo principally produces copperas a mine product with gold and silver as by-products. In 1995, the company discovered a high-grade gold depositwhich they named Victoria Gold. In a year, the company outlined a substantial ore resource that could support an

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initial 1,500 tonnes per day operation.On March 15, 1997, Victoria Goldoperation officially came into being, andafter only ten months of operation, itproduced 106,000 ounces of gold and71,000 ounces of silver with an incomeof P342 million, making it the mostprofitable year in Lepanto’s history.Today, Lepanto boasts of being thecountry’s leading producer of gold andcopper with gross receipts of P2.2 billionyearly. It has about 2,000 employeeswith 60 percent of them working in themining group. Recent orders byPresident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo toprioritize the unimpeded application ofthe 1995 Philippine Mining Act havecaused indigenous-rights advocates andenvironmentalists to step up campaignsagainst destructive developmentprojects and mining.

In December 2002, the UN SpecialRapporteur for the Human Rights andFundamental Freedoms of Indigenous

In his brief, Stavenhagen shared his impression that theindigenous communities and organizations seem to “havelost faith in the ability of government agencies and thejudicial system to address their concerns effectively.”Stavenhagen’s report, once completed, will be submittedto the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Poisoned WaterIn Sitio Cabitin where the streams entwine to journeytoward Ilocos Sur, a red orange stain stays upon the rocks,boulders and water way past the golden sunrise. AptotRiver now referred to as Lepanto River, flows past thetailings dam that LCMCo built to contain the chemicalwastes produced from processing gold and copper. Thetailings persistently escape to Lepanto, which mingleswith other mineral-rich tributaries and contaminatesthe water that moves on to irrigate the farms of IlocosSur and Abra. Research gathered by University of thePhilippines College Baguio’s Pahinungod (VolunteerProgram) in coordination with Community Health andEducation, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region

People, Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen came to Mankayanas part of his official visit to gather information “from allrelevant sources…on violations of (indigenous peoples’)human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Whilecommending the Philippine government for taking “animportant step towards the full realization of the rights ofindigenous peoples” by adopting the Indigenous PeopleRights Act (IPRA) in1997, he echoed concerns raised by indigenouscommunities and their advocates of inconsistentprovisions within the Act that “may lead to contradictoryor ambiguous interpretations that do not fully favorindigenous rights.” IPRA is the same law that PresidentArroyo wishes to have reviewed in her effort to pushforward the full implementation of the Philippine MiningAct of 1995. Ironically, Stavenhagen mentioned thatsome laws, including the same controversial Mining Actcontain provisions “that make the application of IPRAdifficult.” This observation was made even as the Professorvisited the Victoria Gold Mine upon invitation and with aguided tour by the LCMCo.

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Inc. (CHESTCORE) and the Peasant Alliance for theCordillera Homeland called APIT-TAKO reveal that before1936 when LCMCo commenced its mining activities,farmers in the surrounding localities reported high yieldsof indigenous crops.

Back then, the lack of environmental awareness andaccountability justified the dumping of mine tailings andwaste straight into the river. In 1960, the company builtTailings Dam No. 1 in Nasulian, Paco but abandoned it inless than 10 years, rendering the neighboring landsunsuitable for agriculture. Three more dams were builtover the years but they all collapsed, following typhoonsand other natural calamities, contaminating even morericefields. Today, Tailings Dam No. 5 is visible from thetop of SitioColalo, where only recently, a school building collapseddue to the subsidence of land. The company’s efforts totreat the tailings outlet with lime, as prescribed by theDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources, seemfutile as the rust-colored water continues to flow downthe river, killing the animals that drink from it, andpermanently dyeing the rocks and boulders in its path.

A Kankanaey family is grieving in Cabitin when wearrived. Gregorio Tanasia died of cancer, his sister GloryOcampo insists, but his death certificate indicates cardiacfailure. There would be another cancer-related death intown before our weeklong visit would be over. In fact, theMankayan Rural Health Unit reported 15 cases of varioustypes of cancer in the region in 2002 alone.

Dr. Ana Leung, chairperson of the Department ofPreventive and Community Medicine at Saint LouisUniversity and Executive Director of CHESTCORE saysthat “many of the heavy metals and chemicals liberatedin corporate mining, especially arsenic, are carcinogenic.”Dr. Leung was part of the UP-led team that conductedresearch in Mankayan on the mining effects. “We shouldat least be suspicious and wary of cancer cases occurringin the affected areas.” She calls on appropriate agencieswithin government to document and investigate morethoroughly the cases that come their way. “How manymore deaths in Mankayan were cancer-related but neverdocumented?”

In the past, the LCMCo blamed these cases to the use ofpotent pesticides by the farmers in the community.Community folks have their own theories.

Tanasia, who was 64 when he died, was said to be anindustrious family man to his wife and eleven children.Over the years he had had various ailments -respiratoryinfections, ulcers, upset stomach – but none prepared thefamily for his demise on January 8 after he took to bed inOctober last year. His sister Glory says Tanasia died fromliver cancer that quickly metastasized to his stomach andesophagus. She blames the presence of the Lepantocontainment dam for her brother’s death. “He used topick up logs that were washed down the Lepanto River forfirewood. His doctors said that the smoke from those logsmight have caused his illness,” relates Ocampo, a retiredpublic school teacher now living in Baguio.

Tanasia built a nipa hut overlooking the ancestral landshis family tilled. From the hut one can see on one side, thefarmlands bordered by the Dupiri River and, on the other,the toxic water seeping from the dam.

“I remember when I was young, we used to travel twohours by foot to our school and those terraces you seefilled with silt and tailings used to be ricefields,” saysOcampo. “The company has given livelihood for thepeople. They have built roads. But they do not take intoconsideration the long-term effects of their miningactivities on the town.”

The short trek to Tanasia’s house is littered with yellowbanana stalks cut a foot long each to serve as plates forthe kanyao, the three to seven-day long festivity followingan important event in the community — a death perhaps,or a wedding. While many of the Kankanaeys have adoptedthe Christian religion, some continue to incorporate theirindigenous practices into their faith, a testimony to theirfierce resistance against colonial rule.

Gina Tanasia, 54, sits calmly beside a wall covered withplastic shower curtains of lilacs and pink roses. A pictureof her late husband hangs on the curtained wall, lookinghealthy and self-assured as he leans against the railing:Binga Dam, Barangay Captain,

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1968, the caption read. The widow has brown, deep-seteyes, made sadder still by her loss, high cheekbones and avoice that sounded soft but certain. She is half-Kalinga,brought to these parts from Abra by her husband. Theyhave been tilling the less than onehectare of ancestral lands for their family’s survival.

“The doctors wondered if he was a heavy drinker andsmoker,” she says, “but he didn’t have any vice. He hadcysts all over his body. Four days before he died, hecouldn’t swallow anything. His nose was very sensitive. Ithought he was just delirious when he started talkingabout the containment dam.” She quotes her husband inKankanaey, and then translated his words herself inEnglish: “Our people are pitiable. They must be wary ofthe dam. It is not safe. It is contaminating the springsthat lie below it.”

Samples taken by the UP-led research team from therivers and streams in Mankayan that come in contactwith the tailings have been found to contain lead andcopper in surface water. Copper and arsenic in soil arealso higher compared to maximum limits setinternationally. In the report, they noted the followingsigns and symptoms residents experienced after beingexposed to the tainted water: headache, dizziness,cough, chest pain, nasal and eye irritation. In areas asfar as Quirino, Ilocos Sur where the diluted tailingseventually pass, people reported that “wounds takelonger to heal when exposed to the Abra River.” Therewere also suspicious cases of birth defects such ascerebral palsy, dwarfism and developmental delay.Some spontaneous abortions were also reported.

“In terms of biodiversity, the loss of aquatic, plant andbird life are great. This loss becomes even more starkwhen contrasted with the biodiversity existing in thecontrol lake unaffected by industrial pollution,” thestudy states. “In terms of social impact, there is loss oflivelihood due to the effects of industrial pollution onagriculture. Historical evidence shows how thesurrounding communities have been transformed frombeing a former rice granary to communities strugglingto survive in the present cash economy.”

DENR Administrative Officer for the CordilleraAdministrative Region in Bugyos, Agapito Gallentes, 56,grew up in Cabitin but is now only a weekend resident.We catch him watching a movie on cable at his house ona Sunday afternoon, where nearby, his family tends avegetable garden. It is quite a vertical hike and we areout-of-breath when we get to his house. The governmentworker offers us water, which he says is taken from anatural spring in Cabitin. In our thirst, we disregard thehealth alert and empty the glasses. The water issurprisingly cool and sweet on our tongues. Asked whathe knows of the copper-colored stream running alongsidethe vegetable farms, Gallentes relates that it is part ofthe Lepanto River and that the animals that drink fromit pee blood and die. He believes, however, that limingthe water would neutralize the water’s acidity. “This iswhat DENR recommended that mining companies do. Ifonly they would comply on a regular basis.”

It is sad, he comments, that while Mankayan is rich withminerals, “life does not improve.” He mentions PhilexMining Company and how it had built roads andinfrastructure for the people of Tuba, Benguet. “Theyhelped make life better for the community,” he enthuses.“When the dam Lepanto built in 1986 collapsed, acres ofricefields were destroyed. The company compensated thepeople with P10 per square meter.”

He acknowledges the company’s contribution toMankayan’s economy by way of employing its people,and does not rally for LCMCo to leave but perhaps, hespeculates, the company could do more to contribute tothe betterment of Mankayan community.

Sinking Land

In Sapid, Colalo, and Poblacion, where we stayed, theresidents live in fear of another landslide or sinking. Inthe last three years there have been incidents of landsubsidence, causing buildings and farmlands to collapse.Community leaders claim these tragedies were not causedby nature, as DENR reported, but by abandoned tunnelsnot properly backfilled. An LCMCo underground workerattests to having seen tunnels “as big as municipalbuildings” underneath an area where a school buildingcollapsed only a year ago. Back then, the worker says, the

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company gives a seven-to-15-day tour of the undergroundtunnels. “The wood used as pillars to prop up the tunnelwalls probably rotted and collapsed, causing the groundto crumble.” The same worker shares that there wereinstances when they could hear the noises of trucksoverhead as they drill, corroborating beliefs of affectedresidents that the tunnels are dug too close to the surface.

Perfecto Lasa, 65, an elder and former barangay captain,said that LCMCo does not follow the governmentrequirement that mining companies drill at least 150

meters below the ground surface. The former Chief ofPolice of Mankayan has led protests and petitions againstthe company for a variety of issues, among them, landsubsidence, bulldozing of a graveyard, and the need forcommunity and municipal officials to have access to mapscontaining mining operation information.

“It was in 1983 when a gaping hole appeared on the bottomof the river. The water was going into the tunnels,” herecalled. “After that time, cracks started appearing onthe walls of residential homes and buildings and the roadsstarted sinking.” Lasa, who speaks with the eloquence of a

Cracks caused by land sinking.

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tribal chief, worries about his own properties in thePoblacion, about a hundred steps down a man-madestairway from his house. He has a store there and a smallrestaurant where people go for billiards and videoke.

In areas deemed Danger Zones, cracks visibly line the wallsand floors of residential homes like open wounds. Some ofthe residents have stayed despite efforts by LCMCo torelocate them, saying Palatong, the sitio above Poblacionwhere the company tried tomove them showed signs of sinking as well. “The landsthat seemed safe were being claimed by other familiessaying these are their properties not Lepanto’s,” said oneSapid resident who preferred to be identified only asManang. Her vegetable farm, located inside the miningcompound, was devastated in 1999 when a hole about 50meters deep (“As big as a house!” she insisted) devouredpart of her garden. It took Lepanto a whole day to fill theopening with sand and gravel. A year later, another holeappeared on her untilled land, about a kilometer from herhouse. The earth shook then, causing fissures on the wallsand floors of her house, which she now covers with oldcalendars and a vinyl carpet.

“We’re just waiting for something to happen,” said theKankanaey woman farmer who has six children and fivegrandkids, but whose youthful demeanor and lean, slenderbody belies her 45 years. She fought Lepanto to gaincompensation for her ruined crops and lands. “They onlypaid for the crops but not for the land,” she said. “We askedthem, how could we go back to our lands to work whenthere is a danger that it would sink under us? People saythere must be an abandoned tunnel underneath our landthat Lepanto did not fill causing it to collapse, but thecompany denies it. They say they just want to be of helpto the people. They claim that this is part of their propertybut we’ve been here eversince I can remember. We’vebeen paying property taxes for these lands.”

She recalled how, after the community got together toreport the damage to Lepanto, the company had sentdumptrucks and bulldozers in the night to start puttingbackfill into the hole before anything was settled. “It wasthe women residents who got up and drove them away.We said ‘You are like thieves working in the night!’ We

forced the workers to go back where they came from. Thenext day, they were made to apologize to us.”

In a video her cousin took of the events following thelandslide she pointed to us Atty. Agapito Bulislis, LCMCo’slegal adviser at the time, and the town councilor PulidoLabi, who participated in the negotiations for thecompensation. “We asked them to pay P400,000 so thatwe could transfer our livelihood elsewhere where there isno danger. But the company said they would only pay forthe damaged crops, which the Department of Agricultureestimated at P84T. Lepanto refused to pay more.”

Sapid, Manang said, used to be called Sitio Pinagayan,meaning ricefields. “All these, including the golf course,where the company’s executives play, used to be ricefields.Our family has been here long before Lepanto. When theycame and took away our water, weplanted vegetable gardens instead.”

Inside the LCMCo compound, there is a recreation centerwhere you can play pool and sing karaoke for P5 a song; amill where the rocks are grounded; a golf course whereschoolchildren would rather work to retrieve balls insteadof go to school; and bunkhouses with walls of GI aluminumsheets painted a limey green where, in front, lines andlines of laundry hang to dry. There are also residentialhouses like Manang’s, owned by families who have livedhere long before LCMCo started operating. About 70 percent of the residents have a family member who worksfor the company.

When asked about the good that the company has donefor the people of Mankayan, Manang is slow to respond.“Well,” she says after a long pause, “at least they fix someof the damage they create… If Lepanto is not in Mankayan,life is going to be the same. If they don’t take the gold thenthe people will benefit from it. It is our ancestral land,after all.”

To Kill SoftlyIn Cordillera, there is a way to prepare chicken withoutspilling blood. A traditional meal called “pinikpikan,”modern practitioners fondly refer to it as “killing mesoftly.” It is said that through the process of beating andburning, the indigenous folks make appeals or ask favors

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from Kabunian and/or the spirits of their ancestors. Thenative chicken, our guide claims, make the bestpinikpikan, but a Broiler or Cobbs will do. You’ll needfirewood, a clean, flat surface, innasin (smoked, saltedand aged pork), water, pechay, chayote, and a piece ofstick.

First, you start a fire. Put one wing of the chicken on a flatsurface. Using the stick, beat the wings from the insidelike you would hit a gong – not too soft and not too hard –just enough to numb the fowl, not break its bones. Keep arhythm as you go from the tip of the wing to the side thenback.

Do the other wing. Lay its neck sideways on a flat surfaceand beat it repeatedly from end to end. Beating thechicken makes its blood coagulate, no messy red liquiddripping all over the place.

When its strength is gone, you go for the kill. You hold thechicken by its feet and wings in one hand and then youhit the back of its head just below the comb. One well-placed blow should do it. Burn the feathers over the fire.Don’t burn your hands when you remove excess feathers.Now, cook with innasin, chayote and pechay.

Mark, 24, is a miner at Lepanto. He plays his guitar andsings a country song called “Shot to the Heart” as ourguide beats our dinner, and we, the outsiders, exclaim“aray” with every blow. The neighborhood children, someas young as six, sing along with him like this is somenursery ditty. Mark has been working at Lepanto for ayear now. He was 18 when he worked for Philex in Tuba,Benguet, where, he claims, the rocks were tougher anddidn’t fall off so easily. A co-worker of his at Lepanto wasrecently injured underground— his leg broke when a pieceof rock “as big as a toilet sink” fell on it. In fact, theInternational Labor Organization reports that “althoughmining accounts for only one per cent of the globalworkforce, it is responsible for up to five per cent of fatalaccidents at work – 15,000 per year or 40 a day.”

A study conducted by the Institute for Occupational Healthand Safety Development on underground mining inItogon, Benguet in 1997 cites “being hit by fallingobjects” as the leading type of accident followed by

suffocation from chemical fumes, and accidents involvingmachines.

“It is hot inside the underground tunnel,” he says. “Everyfive minutes, you have to hose yourself down with wateror you’ll get muscle cramps or pass out.”

Mark works the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift and has to report towork by 6:30. Sometimes, he does a double shift to earnextra. While LCMCo prides itself in giving its workersabove-the-minimum wages, Mark says it is still notcommensurate to the amount of risk they take to get theirjobs done. The lowest daily wage of regular rank and fileis P288.00 or about P40 above the government-stipulatedminimum amount.

Felipe, 54, has been working for LCMCo for 18 years andgets an average of P310 a day. He says it’s not enough tosustain his family of six. Over the years he has seen manycolleagues die and get injured from falling rocks, machinesand dynamite shrapnel. Just recently, he relates, a co-worker named Roberto Farudin was killed after he waspinned by a Low-Profile-Truck (LPT) while the driver wasbacking out. There were five fatalities in 2002 whosefamilies got P220,000 each from the company insurance,and some additional contributions from the LCMCoofficials and employees. “In Lepanto, if you are killed whileworking, it’s your fault,” Felipe says. Tacked on thebulletin board by the recreation center is the LCMCoSafety Credo typed on a piece of paper that’s yellowingfrom age. To paraphrase: “The incidence of accident isborn from improper attitude, of thoughtlessness or lack ofthinking thereof. It is your moral obligation to preventaccidents.” Ironically, the LCMCo was given Recognitionfor its health and safety programs by the Department ofLabor and Employment (DOLE) in the 3rd GawadKaligtasan and Kalusugan awards night. TheOccupational Health and Safety Center (OHSC) of thePhilippines launched these awards to give recognition toindividuals and companies for outstanding health andsafety records.

Last year, the employees did not get any profit-sharingnor any other bonus in addition to the mandated 13th

month pay. Workers were told that LCMCo did not meetit* quota for the year. “Labor is blamed for it but how

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could we meet the quota if the company keeps raising it?At the beginning of Victoria, there was a lot of gold, butthe sample got smaller and smaller. The LHD (load, hauland dump) trucks are as big as Caterpillars (trucks usedfor construction) and tend to gather more wastematerials,” Felipe says. “In 1990, before Victoria, we hadthe biggest profit-sharing. Less than P7,000. After thatthey decreased the amount every year. Now, we only geta ‘performance bonus’. It all depends on how yoursupervisor evaluates your performance. So, if you don’thave a good working relationship with your supervisor,don’t expect a bonus at all.”

The mining methods employed by LCMCo is mechanizedoverhand and underhand, cut-and-fill using the load,haul and dump (LHD) method for muck removal, the useof drilling, rockbolting, blasting and other mechanizedmethods.

Felipe claims he used to have more faith in the company.“It seems things turned for the worse when they found

gold. They became more oppressive and abusive afterthat.”

In December 2002 the 1,560-strong Lepanto EmployeesUnion filed a Notice of Strike after the management firedUnion members charged with absence-without-leave(AWOL) when they did not show up for work on holidaysseven times. “The priority issue is the compulsoryholiday work…Then we are also questioning their labor-contracting-only (LCO) practice involving workersdirectly involved in production… we are fighting fortenure. These LCOs don’t get benefits especially if thereare accidents. They also threaten the employment ofregular workers who get paid a little more,” explainsUnion President Panelo Ambas, 43, who has been withthe company for 20 years. Ambas also talks about theissue of “high-grading” apprehensions, or those caughtallegedly stealing ore. The Union believes the minersare framed because the security guards are givenrewards or incentives when they manage to catchsomeone with a piece of nava, the reddish rock with

white, powdery specks, whichmay (or may not) have goldembedded in it. High-graders arepenalized with five-daysuspension or, at the extreme,dismissal from work. “On oneoccasion, the security guardsearched some workers and foundthem to be clean. They followed thesame workers afterwards andaccused them of high-grading.”

When asked to comment on theland subsidence issue, Ambas saysthat when the company finds ore“they keep drilling and mining,without monitoring the pillarheight. I don’t think they caremuch for the people whose landsand houses may be affectedbecause they can always just paythem for the damage… It willprobably take 10 years to stabilizethe land in Sapid withbackfilling.” Ambas lives in Sapid

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with his wife and six children. His family is also intovegetable gardening.

Scale MiningAndoy Tawaken, 49, is a small-scale miner in Mankayanoriginally from the Mountain Province. He and his wifeErnesta, 47, a Kalinga, have 13 children with agesranging from 30 to two. Two of the older ones are going tocollege in Baguio. One, Daniel, a criminology student,has beautiful paintings on wood of the Cordilleralandscape hanging on the wall of their three-room cottagebeside a poster of Silvester Stallone’s Rambo III. An earlier,more child-like painting is permanently dyed on the insideof the door to their sala. Mang Andoy smiles briefly whenasked about the paintings. “It is my son’s hobby,” he says,almost dismissively, as he waves the million fliesdescending upon the merienda of sweet bread and coffeehe offers us. It is amazing how art finds space in thiscramped hut, where there seems to be a child in everynook and cranny. The couple has sixteen grandchildrenas well, most of them living here.

Mang Andoy takes us to the nearby tunnel where heworks. It is 100 meters in length, and about six feet inheight. There are droplets of water clinging on the wallslike crystals, and a few wingless co*ckroaches sitting thereimmobile. We watch our step as we tread on planks ofwood on the floor covering a hole where the miners creepinto to get to more ore.

“We make our own schedule here unlike in big miningcompanies,” Mang Andoy says as he lights our way witha waning flashlight. “And anybody can work here, young,old, crippled.” Women, however, are traditionally keptout of the mining tunnels perhaps for practical reasons,as they are tasked with taking care of the home. He letsus women in the tunnel, defying tradition. “The operatoris not here anyway.”

Mang Andoy says they don’t use dynamite to blast theirway underground, “just shovels.” A watermill built withrecycled rubbertire vanes gathers water from the riverfor the use of the rock grinder by his house. It takes threedays to grind the rocks and half-a-day to segregate thesediment that may contain the gold. A small containmentdam captures the caramel-hued waste from the grinder,

which the miners collect in burlap sacks for drying andfurther sorting by the women.

“We only use charcoal and sodium to get to the gold. Wecook it in a clay saucer using a blower.” Mang Andoyshows us the tedious process with his aged tools. “Somebig scale mining companies use cyanide and mercury sothat they can get even those they call ‘water gold’. Wedon’t do that here.”

It is the operators who own the mill and other equipmentthe scale miners use. They get the most share when theminers sell the gold that they manage to get. On a reallygood day, they can get at least four grams which theysell to middlemen at P410 per gram. “Most days we onlyget .6 or .8. It really depends on the nava.”

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There is no health or accident insurance to speak of and,after the profit is distributed among the workers, there isonly enough to maybe buy a sack of rice, but Mang Andoyprefers to do this than tend a vegetable garden.“Especially now that prices of vegetables are so low, thefarmers would rather leave them to rot than spend fortransportation.” The price of a kilo of cabbage, farmerssay, is P1. They attribute the drop in prices to the influxof vegetables in Baguio imported from neighboringcountries like Taiwan. But that, in itself, is another story.

Perpetual Water RightsThey call him Kapitan. Denver Tongacan, 50, is amember of the Sangguniang Bayan and the barangaychairman of Bulalacao, a farming town. He is also one ofthree accused in a case filed by LCMCo at the provincialcourt for “illegal obstruction to permittees or contractorsdefined and penalized under Sec 107 of RA7942,otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.”

The grizzled community leader only smiles when heremembers that day in October, 1999. “The companyfound Victoria Ore deposits in Tabac, our neighboringsitio, so they started operations,” he relates at thejunction store his family owns, where older men aredrinking gin and teenagers are playing pool. “The peoplethere protested and burned one of their equipment. Thecompany got help from the military and a platoon wassent to contain the situation.”

Tongacan says that when he and other communitymembers saw the LCMCo workers laying down pipes onthe road to their sitio, they mobilized residents tobarricade the intended drill site. “First, there were just20 of us. Before night falls there were more than 500. Wetook turns manning the barricades for a week.”

The case is still pending at the civil and criminal courtsand, until it is resolved, the drillings will not resume.For now, Tongacan and other leaders are concerned aboutthe granting of perpetual water rights to LCMCo to six ofthe nine rivers in North Benguet. This will enable thecompany to generate 500 metric tons of water it needsfor gold processing.

“If they take all our water, how are we going to sustainour farmlands?” he says. He and leaders of the Barangay

Bulalacao Movement have also applied to keep theirwater, but he fears that the government will favor thebig corporation.

“Laban na kung laban!” Dionisio Tipaac, barangaycaptain of Suyok says, his eyes red from drinking gin. Itis twilight and the store is getting filled up with studentsand workers. “We will fight to the end.” He mumblesmore angry-sounding words in Kankanaey before goingback to his friends.

Fighting for SurvivalIn the past, the people of Mankayan have come togetherto write petitions and do mass actions when miningactivities directly affect their sources of livelihood. Inthe early ‘90s, the company was forced to close down twocopper ore dryers after residents complained that thesmoke they emit were destroying their crops and animals.“It took awhile,” says Perfecto Lasa. “The DENR cameand went to verify, the company brought agriculturiststo check the dying vegetables and bananas and thewasting animals. They said it was because of lack offertilizers and other reasons, but not the black smoke.The people appealed some more and the companymanaged to lessen the smoke. But at night, when thetown slept, they would resume. The crops continued todie. Some outsiders – no one knows who – probably heardof the people’s plight and bombed the dryers one night.”

There is a CAFGU detachment on a hill in Cabitin andthe people are getting anxious about the increasingnumber of men in uniform they see in Poblacion. “Thereis no terrorism here,” Lasa says. “But officials of Lepantoare told not to come here for security reasons. This is apeaceful place.”

Prof. Stavenhagen, the UN Representative mentioned inhis debriefing report that he found it “inappropriate thata regional police commander in the Cordillera can decide,at the behest of a mining company executive… to monitora public meeting within the framework of the SpecialRapporteur’s official mission.” He also wrote about the“highly irregular presence of members of the militaryin civilian clothing, videotaping the proceedings” of oneof the regional dialogues he attended.

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Last year, about a hundred peasants, small-scale miners,gardeners and workers from Mankayan; Tadian andMainit villages in Bontoc, Mountain Province; andCervantes, Ilocos Sur convened in a Peasant Summit andformed Mankayan Against Lepanto Expansion (MALEX).At the National Minority Week last August 12 to 16,MALEX joined militant groups in a protest caravanagainst development aggression and militarization. Theirfirst stop was the LCMCo’s national office in Makati wherethey were met with force by policemen who preventedthem from depositing bags of silt in front of the office as asymbolic act of protest. The police wasn’t able to stop them,though, from throwing tailings and silt at the front stepsof the building.

Lepanto’s ContributionsThe discovery of gold and copper in the 14th and 16th

century in the Cordilleras drove many to migrate here. Itencouraged some of the original settlers to switch fromswidden farming to copper mining, using the copper tomanufacture pots, pipes and tools, and totrade with the North. Efforts by Spanish colonizers to sendmining expeditions failed because of the natives’uncompromising stance against foreigners.

However, the American colonial governmentsystematically dispossessed indigenous claims to ancestrallands when it passed the Public Land Act in 1902 allowingUS government to expropriate all public lands. In 1905,the Land Registration Actinstitutionalized Torrens Titling system as the sole basisof land ownership in the country. The Mining Law of 1905provided that all public lands shall be free and open forexploitation, occupation and purchase by both citizens ofthe Philippines and the US. This law allowed the Americanmining interests to thrive.

In the1930s, a mining boom in Mankayan brought agroup of prospectors led by American geologist VictorLednicky to form the Lepanto Consolidated MiningCompany. The company built the country’s first copperplant at 400 tons per day and increasing it to 1,000 perday until the outbreak of World War II. For three yearsduring World War II, Mitsui Company operated the mine,and Lepanto Mining resumed its operations in 1947.

Last year, the company started expanding its operationsin an effort to extend the life of the Victoria Gold mine.The projected mine life for the whole Victoria project,without considering future mineral exploration, is around11.5 years. This estimate is based on annual 500 metrictons per day increase (MTPD) from 2500 to 5000 MTPD.Mankayan folks expect increased mining activities toaffect their livelihood.

In its annual operations report, LCMCo claims to havespent a generous P7.0 million in 2001 for communityprojects such as social infrastructures, education, sports,and cultural programs, medical missions, calamityassistance and livelihood programs. “In the last five years,total expenditures for community development totaledP29.3 million,” the report states. This is the company’sresponse to the DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau callfor “contractor/permit holder/lessee conducting miningand milling operation” to establish a Social Developmentand Management Program (SDMP). In fact the PhilippineMining Act of 1995 specifically provides that the“contractor shall assist in the development of its miningcommunity, the promotion of the general welfare of itsinhabitants and the development of science andtechnology.”

In his report, Stavenhagen talked about how closelyrelated the land rights problem is to the issuessurrounding economic development strategies as theyaffect the areas in which indigenous peoples live. “Manycommunities resist being forced or pressured intodevelopment projects which destroy their traditionaleconomy, community structures, and cultural values –a process that has been aptly described as ‘developmentaggression,’” he writes. “The indigenous peoples are stillwaiting for human rights-centered development to reachthem.”

Article written by exposuree Lani Montreal. Published in Hapit,1st Quarter, 2002

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environmental investigatory missiondocuments continuing environmental damagecaused


Another Environmental Investigatory Mission (EIM)along the Abra River was organized by the Save the AbraRiver Movement (STARM) last October 25-26, 2004.Over 116 individuals were mobilized. The EIM wasdivided into the Upper Abra River team which coveredMankayan, Benguet down to Cervantes and Quirino,Ilocos Sur and the Lower Abra River team which surveyedthe Abra and lower Ilocos Sur segments of the river.Members of the EIM team included the Saint LouisUniversity, University of the Philippines Baguio,Benguet State University, Easter School, Itogon NationalHigh School, the University of Northern Philippines andAbra State Institute for Science and Technology. Otherparticipants came from the Accion Contra el Hambre,United Church of Christ in the Philippines and in Canada,the Health Action Information Network and theCordillera People’s Alliance. Legal assistance was providedby the Cordillera Human Rights Organization andTanggol Kalikasan. Members of the media, fromVIACOMM, radio DZEQ and Northern Dispatchdocumented the EIM.

The EIM was conducted in partnership withMAQUITACDG (Mankayan, Quirino, Tadian, CervantesDanggayan a-Gunglo, the alliance of people’sorganization living along the Upper Abra River). Atvarious points along the Abra River, the EIM team washosted by Abra Governor Vicente “Vicsyd” Valera, Jr.and his wife Bangued Mayor Zita “Ching” Valera, IlocosSur Provincial Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, the IlocosSur Provincial Board, the municipal governments ofCervantes, Quirino and Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Mankayan,Benguet and Manabo, Abra, the barangays of Puro,

Preliminary Report of the October 25-26, 2004 EIM(Includes Initial Water Quality Monitoring Results)

Casibir, Sallacong and San Mariano, Ilocos Sur andPakiling, Abra. Most of these supportive LGUs hadrecently made resolutions demanding a stop to furtherLepanto expansion.

Water sampling for physicochemical testing wasconducted at 17 points along the Abra River fromMankayan, Benguet all the way down to Abra and themouth of the Abra River in Caoayan and Santa, IlocosSur. Soil samples were also collected from at least 6 sites.Water sampling started at the Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP) MillOutlet of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation incontrast to the DENR-Lepanto Multi-Partite MonitoringTeam which starts its water sampling only at TailingsDam 5A. Pollution must be measured from the CIP MillOutlet since discharge from this area already comes incontact with the environment and the nearbycommunities of Paalaban and Cabitin.

Samples taken from the CIP Mill outlet registered a basicpH (9.31) and emitted a strong acetone-like smell. ThepH of water allegedly coming from underground tunnelsand also released at the back of the CIP Mill was acidic(4.07). A sample taken at the mid-portion of TailingsDam 5A was also acidic (6.25).

Dissolved oxygen readings at the CIP Mill Outlet and atTailings Dam 5A registered below 2 mg/L. This puts intoquestion Lepanto’s recent claim that fish can be foundswimming in Tailings Dam 5A as aquatic life cannotsurvive in conditions where dissolved oxygen is below 2mg/L.

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Mine drainage flowing from the Lepanto carbon-in-pulp mill and underground tunnels into the tributaries of the Abra River.

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A major source of concern is the high amount of TotalSuspended Solids (TSS) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)found at the CIP Mill Outlet, the drainage from theunderground tunnels, at Tailings Dam 5A and at LepantoRiver downstream from TD5A. An increased amount ofTSS and TDS indicates that many chemicals/ heavymetals are dissolved in the water. The TDS is of specialconcern since water with a high TDS may appear cleareven if many chemicals/ heavy metals are dissolved init. Thus the clarity of the water that flows from Lepanto’sTailings Dam 5A is no guarantee that it is indeed safe.

Further, Lepanto’s claim that Tailings Dam 5A is actuallyhelping to contain siltation is likewise deceiving. Thehigh level of TDS and TSS from the CIP Mill Outlet up toTailings Dam 5A indicates that the silt originates fromcompany operations and is NOT natural siltation. Thehigh level of TDS downstream from the Tailings Dam 5Aalso indicates that not all of this silt is being contained.

Another cause of concern are the water quality readingsobtained at the mouth of the Abra River at RanchoCasiber, Santa, Ilocos Sur. Dissolved oxygen again fellbelow 2 mg/L, and Total Dissolved Solids was again veryhigh. The mouth of the Abra River is a very importantarea as this is where fish from the sea enter freshwater tolay their eggs and grow their young. While the variousfactors that may be causing the above conditions need tobe investigated further. It must be noted however thatthe mouth of any river is also the ultimate site ofaccumulation of pollutants along the entire length of theriver, including mine drainage from Lepanto.

Free cyanide levels at several points along the UpperAbra River are above the DENR standard of 0.1 mg/L.

Cyanide is an extremely toxic chemical used in large-scale gold mining operations to extract the minutestamount of gold. Long-term effects of cyanide poisoninginclude damage to the heart and the brain.

Sampling Point TSS, mg/L TDS, mg/L TS, mg/L

CIP Mill Outlet 100,051 2,677 102,278Underground TunnelsJoining CIP Mill Drainage 2,964 4,572 7,536Tailings Dam 5A Mid-Portion 43,156 276 43,432Tailings Dam 5ANearPenstock 22 2,068 2,090Lepanto RiverDownstream from TD5A 47 2,064 2,111Puro, Ilocos Sur 188 9,740 9,928Rancho Casiber, Ilocos Sur 98 9,010 9,108

Soil sampling in the vicinity of Tailings Dam 5A proveddangerous for the EIM team as digging of less than 1meter in depth resulted in water flowing into the site ofdigging. The soil under the surface was an unstable slurryof sand, soil and water. This indicates that soil aroundthe Tailings Dam is very porous.

Soil sampling done in Camay, Cervantes, Ilocos Surrevealed foul-smelling, dark soil at less than a meterbelow the surface. Palay in this area were noted to bestunted and had a burnt appearance. Local farmersattribute this to the overflowing of river water andtailings into their ricefields during heavy rain fall inrecent years.

As evidence of continued environmental degradation ofthe Abra River by Lepanto were collected by the EIMteam, testimonies of community residents at the newlyre-opened mine exhaust tunnel at Sitio Pacda, Palasaan,Mankayan, Benguet put into question Lepanto’s claimsthat the exhaust tunnel posed no danger.

Lepanto has obtained a temporary permit to operate theexhaust tunnel from the DENR-EnvironmentalManagement Bureau. Residents of Sitio Pacda complainedof nasal irritation from the smoke they observed comingfrom the exhaust at various times of the day, usuallylate at night or in the early morning. Banana plantshave been noted to be wilting abnormally.

In 1997, the air pollution from the Tohking exhausttunnel caused nausea and vomiting, dizziness andabdominal pain among the residents. Domestic animals

Sampling Point Cyanide Level (mg/L)CIP Mill Outlet 0.187Tailings Dam 5A Mid-Portion 0.1685Tailings Dam 5ANearPenstock 0.876Lepanto River Downstreamfrom TD5A 0.98Kayan 0.885

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also developed eye irritation/ reddening and nosebleed.It is feared that the same thing will happen again soon.

Interview with Lakay Nick Sab-it, the owner of the landwhere the exhaust tunnel is located, reveals howdeception was employed by Lepanto in obtaining right tothe land. Lakay Sab-it was payed a mere P30,000 for thelease of his 2,000 square meter lot for 25 years. Theelderly man was told that the tunnel was only going tobe used for air intake. However, he was made to sign acontract that permitted use of his land “for a sandfillline, ventilation raise and other related mining works,including the conduct of exploratory drilling”.

Members of the media interviewed Mayor ManaloGaluten of Mankayan, Benguet to secure a copy of apetition to open the exhaust tunnel allegedly signed by

Lepanto workers. Mayor Galuten denied seeing thispetition. He also denied signing any Sangguniang Bayanresolution supporting this petition.

Interviews made among Lepanto workers revealed thatthey were recently made to sign a blank sheet by theirsupervisors, at the start of their work shift. They werenot given the opportunity to read the actual petitionthey were signing.

At the conclusion of the Environmental InvestigatoryMission, members of the Save the Abra River Movementhung a streamer at the Banaoang bridge which read“Save the Abra River! Stop Lepanto expansion!” Theyvowed to regularize the conduct of such EIMs untilpollution of the Abra River is halted and the River runsclear once again.

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lepanto and its teresa projectdooms the people

As the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company operatesits Victoria Gold Project (VGP), the biggest gold producerin the country announced a new expansion project tostart this year. This is the Teresa Gold Project of Lepantoin Mankayan, Benguet. Simultaneous with the Teresaand Victoria projects is the revival of the Far SoutheastProject and copper mining which has been Lepanto’s mainproduction before the VGP. For all these plans, the miningcompany has reopened its exhaust tunnel which wasclosed in 1997 due to community protest and the DENREnvironmental Management Bureau’s closure order.

With these developments, Lepanto is in hot waters ascommunity protests rage, backed by a growing broadsupport. Local government officials and communityorganizations expressed their opposition to the TeresaGold Project.

Time and again, legitimate issues and concerns havebeen raised by the people but to no avail. Experienceshows that even government laws and legal procedureswere easily ignored or circumvented by the miningcompany.

In the context of high profitabilityThe total volume and value of gold production in thecountry continue to rise, by 6% for the first quarter 2003and by 28% during the first quarter of the year. Theprofitable price of gold has pushed the gold productionvalue to increase from PhP4.98 billion to PhP6.37 billionearly this year. Being the biggest gold producer, Lepantowas largely instrumental in the increase. Of course, theproduction of small scale gold miners reflected in thepurchases of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) andother gold mines (Canatuan Gold Project of TVI Resourcesin Zamboanga del Norte, Acupan Contract Mining Projectof Benguet Corp. in Benguet, Diwalwal Direct State Dev’tProject of the Natural Resources Mining Dev’t Corp, andParacale Gold Project of Johnson Gold Mining Corp. inCamarines Norte) contributed to the total output.

The Teresa Gold Project of Lepanto is expected tocontribute much to the total Philippine gold productionif it becomes operational this year.

For the first six months of 2004, Lepanto has the followingproduction as posted in its website:

2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May June YTDTonnes Milled 7 1 , 2 8 0 6 7 , 3 2 0 70,840 65,680 6 7 , 1 8 0 64,820 4 0 7 , 1 2 0Tonnes per day 2 , 3 7 6 2 , 3 2 1 2,285 2 , 3 4 6 2 , 2 3 9 2,235 2,300Head gradeg/t Au 4 . 2 6 3 . 9 8 4 . 1 3 4.60 4 . 6 6 4 . 2 1 4.30g/t Ag 19 .90 15.50 18.50 1 7 . 4 0 18.20 15 .70 1 7 . 6 0Gold recovery, %Gold 91 .45 9 1 . 3 7 9 1 . 0 3 9 1 . 7 9 91 .95 9 1 . 9 7 91 .60Silver 3 5 . 3 1 40.43 3 2 . 6 1 34.04 40.66 45.15 3 7 . 6 8Production, ozGold 8,918 8,103 8,338 8 , 9 1 1 9 ,246 8,068 51,584Silver 16,065 1 3 , 6 2 6 1 3 , 7 1 4 1 2 , 4 7 9 16,028 1 4 , 7 9 6 86,708

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As the biggest gold producer in the country today,Lepanto claims an annual gold production of 150,000ounces. The mining giant is also a major contributor tothe continuing increase in silver production with 30%and 91% growth rates for first quarter 2003 and 2004,respectively. Compared to the first quarter of 2003, thecompany has a substantial increase of 133% in the outputof the VGP.

Lepanto incurred losses during the first and secondquarters of 2003 as a result of the workers’ strike duringthe whole month of February with the support of peasantcommunities in the municipalities of Mankayan(Benguet), Cervantes and Quirino of Ilocos Sur, Tadian(Mountain Province), and the various sectors of BaguioCity and as far as the province of Kalinga. This was ahistoric event that almost put Lepanto down to its kneesand a lesson that the people will cherish in theircontinuing fight to end this giant menace.

In too short a time, Lepanto declared profitability in itsunaudited net income of P66 million and P112 millionfor the third and fourth quarters of 2003, respectively.For the first half of 2003, Lepanto produced 33,780 ozwhich increased by 67% in the second half to 56,640 oz.However, it later clarified the net income for the periodis P57 million due to foreign exchange losses andrepayment of dollar loans. Still, that is a gargantuannet profit squeezed out of the sweat and blood of theworkers, environmental destruction and plunder of thepeople’s intergenerational livelihood, lands andresources. Note the destruction and plunder broughtabout by extracting 2,300 tons of ore milled per day andthe corresponding tons of chemical elements used inprocessing resulting in tons of toxic wastes dumped intothe Abra River, adding more pressure and threat to thepotential collapse of Tailings Dam 5-A.

For the first three months of 2004, Lepanto earned a netprofit of P81 million with a gold production of 25,359

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ounces. This is a 96% increase compared to the firstquarter of 2003. Thus, just for the three quarters (secondand third quarters 2003 and first quarter 2004),Lepanto accumulated a net profit of not less than P138million.

Target gold production of Lepanto for the year 2004 is113,800 ounces and given a gold price of $390 per ounce,the mining company will have income of P460 million.Having declared a 150,000 oz annual gold production,this must be the least minimum target and therefore,the least minimum target profit. Besides, the price ofgold in the world market is highly profitable given thatthe price per ounce reached $408.27 (gold price as ofSeptember 24 is $407.60-408.10 which is expected toincrease more), its income from three simultaneous

projects (VGP, Teresa and copper mining) and gains fromother metals would far surpass the minimum P460million net profit for 2004.

Now, the question is: who benefits from these millions?Certainly not the people affected, not the nationaleconomy, not the majority Filipino people, and not evenall of its stockholders. It is Lepanto’s top corporate officersand investors who reap these millions of superprofit. Ofcourse, big government bureaucrats and corrupt officialsin various government agencies like the DENR, NCIPand some local government units receive their share asfacilitation or protection money especially since Lepantohas been a consistent violator of laws and rights ofcommunities.

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With these superprofit and financial capacity, Lepantocan easily expand the coverage of its destructive miningoperations beyond Mankayan, Benguet and targetsimultaneous projects which will rake more profit forthe giant.

One among the six prospects nationwide for the revivalof copper production to augment the productioncapacity of Philex Mining Corporation, which is the onlyremaining copper concentrate producer in the countrysince August 2001, is the reopening of the Far SoutheastProject of Lepanto in Mankayan, Benguet.

Lepanto continues operating its VGP through the 700Lproject (which is the deeper section of the Victoria orebody) as it commences its new expansion project, theTeresa Gold Project. Lepanto would not target theseplans and operations if not in a highly profitablesituation.

Given a highly profitable mining operation, Lepantoshould give just living wages, benefits and incentives toits workers and employees; seriously compensate fordamages of properties, livelihood, deaths and otherdisasters to communities adversely affected by Lepantofor a long historic time; repair and rehabilitate sinkingareas and landslides; mitigate the health impacts of itsoperation; and serve in the development of thecommunities and its people vis-à-vis the profit that itgets. But, as history shows, this is impossible to expectfrom Lepanto. This is an illusion as Lepanto is motivatedby super profit accumulation and capitalist greed.

We have no choice but to end this menace.

Other significant developments favorablefor Lepanto’s Teresa ProjectMining giants continue to enjoy the increasing prices ofmajor metals like gold, silver, copper and nickel in theinternational market. Early this year, the prices ofcopper, gold and silver increased by 64%, 16% and 42%,respectively. Gold prices remained upbeat atUS$408.27/troy ounce (1 troy ounce is equivalent to31.157 grams) average during the first quarter of thisyear compared with US$352.43/troy ounce averageduring the same period in 2003, marking a US$55.84

difference. Average price of silver remained positive at$6.64/troy ounce with an increase of 42% from its$4.66/troy ounce average in the first quarter of 2003.

The rise in prices of these metals may have been pushedby the increased demand of China for metalscompounded by the US war of aggression in Iraq and thevolatile political situation in the Middle East. Take notethat prices also increased when US imperialist forcesinvaded Afghanistan in 2002. Wars increase thedemand of these metals for the manufacture of wararmaments. To mining capitalists, war is good. It bringsthem profit.

In the Philippines, the present Arroyo administration asthe worst puppet and agent of imperialist globalizationoffered the country’s mineral resources up for grabs tobig mining capitalists by issuing Executive Order No.270 in January 16, 2004 known as the National PolicyAgenda on Revitalizing Mining in the Philippines.

This policy has concretely set the direction andmechanism of propelling the all-out implementation ofthe Philippine Mining Act of 1995, R.A. 7942, even as itmeant violating Philippine sovereignty, nationalpatrimony and peoples’ rights in favor of capitalistmining under the supervision of the Department ofEnvironment and its Mines Geosciences Bureau. Furtherdriving the voracious appetite of the Arroyoadministration is the plan for Charter Change whichwill likely remove protectionist provisions of thePhilippine Constitution on national patrimony allowing100% foreign ownership and control on the country’smineral investment and resources. Another move is thefiling of a Motion for Reconsideration for a reversal of theSupreme Court decision of January 24, 2004 nullifyingthe provisions on the Financial and Technical AssistanceAgreement (FTAA) of the Mining Act of 1995.

With the Philippine financial crisis at its depth, theArroyo regime is using the situation to further push itsagenda on revitalizing the Philippine mining industryto attract more foreign investments as a way out fromthe brink of financial collapse.

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Teresa Gold ProjectLepanto’s media releases say “the Teresa ore body isadjacent to Victoria I and II sites” with an estimated goldreserve of 110,418 kilograms. The new mine site has alifespan of 15 years.

In a letter dated 9 October 2003, Lepanto informed theDisclosure Department of the Philippine Stock Exchangeof the approval of registration of the new project by theBoard of Investments. They were given such incentivesas income tax holiday for four (4) years, extended forthree years, starting in April 2004 or actualcommencement of commercial operation. What apleasure offered on a silver platter for the giant companyat these times of great financial crisis. Those withsuperprofits who should pay more taxes are the ones beingexcluded from paying taxes for seven years. This is ontop of the practice of big capitalists in legally paying lesstaxes vis-à-vis their huge and taxable income. This isone reason why the present mining system in the country

does not contribute to the country’s financial supply,much less to national industrialization and progress.

The Teresa project has an approved capacity of 970,570tonnes with an equivalent of 162,860 ounces of gold peryear. This annual gold production is bigger than theusual annual production of 150,000 oz. Based on thelatest geological work undertaken for Teresa as of 1January 2004, there is an estimated Mineral Resourceof 9.92 Mt at 2.90 g/t Au from which an Ore Reserve of1.75Mt at 5.63 g/t Au was derived. [Refer to thesummary of the Mineral Resource and ore reserveprovided in the table below.] This means Teresa has ahigher grade compared to the average head grade g/tAu production of Lepanto for the first half 2004. As thetarget annual gold production is increased, this will meana higher grade with a more intensified mechanizedmining. Its concomitant result is more massive plunderto extract the mass of gold and precious metals in a shortspan of time.

Mineral Resource (as of January 1, 2004)

Mineral Resource Category Tonnes (M) g/t Au oz Au (M)Teresa Measured 1 . 8 9 4.09 0.25

Indicated 1 . 6 5 3 . 1 4 0 . 1 7Inferred 6 . 3 7 2.48 0.51Total 9.92 2.90 0.93

Ore Reserve (as of January 1, 2004)

Ore Reserve Category Tonnes (M) g/t Au oz Au (M)Teresa Proved 1 . 0 6 5 . 2 7 0.18

Probable 0.69 6 . 1 9 0 . 1 4Total 1.75 5.63 0.32

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Areas covered by the Teresa ore are barangays Suyoc,Guinaoang, Bulalacao in Mankayan and Binucong-Loo,Buguias, Benguet. On top of this, the mining companyholds on to its expansion plan towards Tadian and Mainitin Mountain Province by aiming for another 6,221kilograms (1 kg is equivalent to 35.33 oz) of gold everyyear in that expansion target.

Contrary to what Lepanto claims, the Teresa Gold Projectis a new and different mine project from Victoria II.Victoria II was discovered in 1999 and, subsequently,commenced operation. Thus, Teresa and Victoria II arenot one and the same. Teresa is the project that Lepantodeclared to be operational this year. To set into motionthe Teresa Gold Project and continue its expansion,Lepanto has reopened its exhaust tunnel in Toking, Pacda,Mankayan without the peoples’ permission and withoutlocal government endorsem*nt. In fact, both theSangguniang Bayan of Mankayan and Cervantes, IlocosSur endorsed and supported the community petitionsagainst the Teresa Gold Project, revival of the coppermining and reopening of the exhaust tunnel.

Why does Lepanto insist that Teresa project is VictoriaII? Because Lepanto wants to avoid fulfilling the legalrequirements, such as favorable endorsem*nt of localgovernment units, the free and prior informed consent(FPIC) of affected communities and other processes as itdid with the VGP. As regards its VGP, the miningcompany remained mute when asked to provide theEnvironmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for theproject especially when the national office of the MGBcertified that there was no ECC ever issued for theLepanto VGP. The company also failed to get the free andprior, informed consent of the communities. Moreover,the Sangguniang Bayan of Mankayan has withdrawnits favorable endorsem*nt for the project given in 2001.Therefore, the Memorandum of Agreement signedfraudulently in 1996 between Lepanto and the MunicipalGovernment holds no legal basis. The SangguniangBayan withdrew its endorsem*nt when it wasconsistently questioned by the communities why therewere no consultations made and the communitiessustained their opposition to the project. Having nothingto show, Lepanto and the MGB ridiculously showed theECC of its past Farsoutheast copper project. Illegal as it is

and with no FPIC, Lepanto started and continued its VGPoperation. At any rate, no legal and environmentalrequirements were accomplished for the Teresa Projecteven as it uses the VGP as alibi. The governmentagencies, DENR and NCIP did nothing to act on theseblatant violations.

This is just another ploy of Lepanto to do away with thelegal requirements , disregard the people’s protest andcircumvent the law in its favor and convenience incollaboration with the MGB-DENR and some localofficials.

Still, Lepanto has to undergo these legal andenvironmental requirements of securing an ECC afterconducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. Ithas to get the favorable endorsem*nt of local governmentunits. Paramount to all, Lepanto must have theacceptance of affected communities and secure their FPIC.If Lepanto will just repeat its unlawful and immoralmining project with the connivance of governmentagencies like the DENR and unscrupulous officials, itshould not be a question if the communities will take thelaw into their hands and exercise peoples’ power for whatis just.

The Teresa Gold Project is another profit-making ventureof Lepanto that dooms the people. With this capitalistmode of mining production backed by reactionary lawslike the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, only the localruling elite who own Lepanto with their foreign partners,will benefit at the expense of the indigenous peoples andpeasants from the plunder of their ancestral lands andresources . Through the Teresa project and expansionbeyond Mankayan, Lepanto undermines the people andthinks it could easily spread its plunder beyond the AbraRiver valley. Lepanto intensifies its record of developmentaggression, exploitation and oppression against the peopleof the Cordillera.

Massive and simultaneous mining by reviving coppermining, continuing the VGP through the 700L projectand the Teresa Gold Project will aggravate the dangerposed by Tailings Dam 5-A. More tonnage of toxic wastesand silt will add more pressure and accelerate the risinglevel of the dam thereby hastening the danger of its

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potential collapse, which could mean tragic death andnightmare to the downstream communities along theAbra River.

This danger is compounded by the fact that the TailingsDam 5-A is located within the Splay of the PhilippineFault which overlaps the Abra River. As to the geologicallocation of the new project, “the Teresa deposit trendsnorth-south along a series of parallel structures that seemto have continued, after it was displaced by a fault, tothe northeast trending Victoria veins. In a regional scale,the Teresa is localized within the northwest to north-south trending Abra River fault that extends to Palidanand Suyoc areas south of Nayak” in Mankayan, Benguet.

In addition to the underground mined-out areas causingland mass movement, the total of 114 holes (50 surfaceand 64 underground) as a result of Lepanto’s drillingoperations since 1969 until 2003 make the situation inMankayan more alarming.

This is an all-out perpetration of capitalist plunder andethnocide that dooms the indigenous peoples andpeasants. Before this happens, we have to end thisLepanto menace. It should not be a question reserved fortomorrow. It is an answer of intensifying mass protestsand struggles to put Lepanto down to its grave and makeit pay for the injustice committed against the people.

First published in Hapit, the official publication of the Cordillera People’s Alliance

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the mineral action plan

Background and ContextThe Mineral Action Plan (MAP) is the detailed implemen-tation plan of EO 270 and 270-A known as the NationalMinerals Policy (NMP), which was approved in January2004 and amended in April 2004. The MAP is the na-tional policy agenda for the revitalization of the Philip-pine mining industry. It sets the framework and prin-ciples by which the Philippine mining industry aims toachieve what it refers to as “sustainable and responsiblemining”.

The Mineral Action Plan (MAP)The MAP, as the concrete and detailed action plan of theNMP, sets concrete strategies with clear targets and spe-cific activities to address various issues and concerns inrevitalizing the Philippine mining industry. This policyagenda covers facilitation of investments; optimizing ben-efits from minerals; promotion of small scale mining; useof efficient technology, protection of the environment;multiple land use and sustainable utilization of mineral-ized areas; remediation or rehabilitation of abandonedmine-sites; economic and social benefits, education andinformation drives; and consultation process on resourcemanagement, policy and planning.

The MAP aims to bring about the integration and cohe-sion of different government agencies by resolving theissues that are seen as constraints or problem areas togreater foreign investments in the mining industry.These constraints are mainly on environmental regula-tions, social acceptability and various regulations of theconcerned government agencies. Obviously, the MAP isintended to provide for the unhampered entry and opera-tion of foreign mining companies which the governmentconsiders as the most decisive and key element in revital-izing the Philippine mining industry. The expected mas-

Sacrificing environmental regulations and social acceptability provisionsfor the unhampered entry of foreign mining companies

sive foreign investment to the mining industry is consid-ered by the government as one of the key solutions to theworsening financial crisis. Based on the MAP, the govern-ment is even willing to bend its own rules, regulationsand laws on the protection of the environment, the recog-nition of the rights of affected communities and the au-tonomy of local government units just to be able to satisfythe demands of foreign mining companies and ensuretheir profitability. On the other hand, the serious envi-ronmental and social cost and consequences of large scalemining are merely treated with more rhetoric ratherthan decisive actions. National patrimony, ecological pro-tection and social concerns are clearly sacrificed in thedrive to revitalize the mining industry, with all incen-tives given to foreign investors under the NMP and MAP.

Addressing the legal constraintsTime and again, the mining industry has been very vo-cal in their disappointment over the tedious and long pro-cess of acquiring exploration and related permits andagreements, which are requirements for mining explo-ration and eventual operation. These legal requirementsare on environmental protection, social acceptability,protection of biodiversity, and the regulation on foreigninvestment. However, instead of strengthening these posi-tive provisions of the law to protect the public interestand welfare, the solution provided by MAP is to simplifythe procedures and harmonize provisions of laws affect-ing mining, in order to facilitate greater investment inthe mining industry by local and foreign companies.

In particular, the Department of Justice will be asked tointervene in favor of the mining industry over the con-flicting provisions of the Mining Act, the Local Govern-ment Code, IPRA, NIPAS, Omnibus Investment Code,

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among others.

In addition, the MAP provides for shortcuts to legal pro-tective measures in order to satisfy the demands and in-terest of the mining industry. In particular, 15 regionalone stop-shops for processing of mining applications havealready been set up, instead of the regular procedurewhereby the various government agencies have to docareful studies of each mining application. This short cutprocess becomes a mechanical procedure, vulnerable to alot of oversight on various regulations, potential viola-tions of certain laws and guidelines, as well as potentialadverse impacts of the mining operation.

In particular, one shortcut process is the reduction of theperiod allowed for the processing of the requirement forthe Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of affectedindigenous communities. As per agreement made betweenthe National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)and the Department of Environment and Natural Re-sources (DENR), the 185 days required for the FPIC pro-cess has been reduced to 107 days or by 43%.

This legal provision under the Indigenous Peoples RightsAct (IPRA) is a mechanism to ensure that indigenouspeoples rights are not violated, especially on their con-trol, management and utilization of their resources aspart of their inherent and collective rights. But underthe MAP, this is now being reduced to a mere technicaland procedural requirement, making a mockery of thevery principle of the right to self- determination of indig-enous peoples. In order to uphold the very principles ofFPIC, there should be clearer guidelines to ensure thatadequate information is provided, including terms of con-tract and agreements, potential adverse impacts, inde-pendent environmental and social studies, and access torelated information.

Sufficient time should also be allowed for information dis-semination, transparent consultations, independent col-lective discussions and independent decision making ,meaning there should be no manipulation, coercion, brib-ery and similar cases just to obtain a favorable endorse-ment for the mining projects. The FPIC mechanism is amatter of social justice for indigenous peoples who haveoften been made sacrificial lambs in the name of develop-ment. The provision for FPIC, however, is seen by mining

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companies as an obstacle to their interest in exploitingthe people’s resources for profit. Through the MAP, thegovernment is simply following the dictates of miningcompanies by further watering down the already prob-lematic NCIP guidelines for the implementation of theFPIC .

Another appalling legal shortcut is on the requirementfor positive endorsem*nt by affected local governmentunits as required under the Local Government Code forany project affecting their constituents. Instead of re-quiring official resolutions of the local legislative unitssuch as the Sanggunian Bayan and Provincial Board, theMAP states that a certification of consultation with a des-ignated local government official will suffice as a require-ment for the issuance of exploration permits. This is againanother affront to the exercise of local autonomy by localgovernment units, and a usurpation of the responsibili-ties of local government units to conduct public consulta-tions as a basis for any decision on projects affecting theirconstituents.

Adding insult to injury, the DENR under MAP will seekthe intervention of the Department of Justice (DOJ) re-garding resolutions made by local government units de-claring moratorium on mining. These resolutions serveas examples of good public accountability of the concernedlocal government units for upholding the position of theirconstituencies.

Addressing public concern on the adverseenvironmental and ecological impacts ofminingWhile the MAP contains several measures and guidelineson environmental protection, it fails to provide decisiveaction on how to resolve existing serious environmentalproblems in relation to mining. For one, instead of re-quiring a mandatory third party audit of mining compa-nies with regards to their mining operation, MAP merelyencourages this kind of environmental accountabilitymeasure. From experience, given the environmental di-sasters caused by mining operations, mining companiesare not very receptive to a third party audit because itopens up their operation to independent scrutiny. Like-wise, MAP merely provides incentives for good environ-mental conduct of mining companies, but does not pro-

vide strong penalties and sanctions for serious environ-mental and ecological disasters caused by mining opera-tions. In fact, more than 10 mine tailings dams havecollapsed in the Philippines, yet not a single mining com-pany in the Philippines has been given stiff penalties orsanction for this kind of disaster, which has serious conse-quences not only on the environment but on the people’slivelihoods. It should be noted that large scale miningoperations, even with the use of highly sophisticated tech

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nology, still cannot reverse the inherent environmentaldamages caused by mining operations such as toxic minewaste disposal, pollution from milling operations and geo-logical disasters.

Another area of mere lip service is on the protection ofbiodiversity-rich areas with mineral deposits. While MAPstates its objective of protecting bio-diversity areas, this,however, is subject to valuation study and comprehen-sive land use plan. Given the practice of the governmentof giving premium to the commercial value of land andresource utilization, extraction of minerals is expected tobe given higher priority over the protection of the eco-logical system. Thus, the most likely outcome and direc-tion of the action plan of MAP is to enhance the NIPAS andmining laws towards strengthening land use for mining,rather than for biodiversity protection.

Instead of clear and decisive policy guidelines and con-crete actions to address public concerns on the environ-mental consequences of mining, MAP instead provides adetailed action plan for education and information topromote mining as sustainable and beneficial for the de-velopment of the country. It drumbeats the so-called eco-nomic benefits of mining and the benefits for host com-munities in order to entice the public’s support. But thisstrategy is doomed to fail as the existing environmentalmess caused by past mining operations remains unat-tended to and serves as a glaring example of the insincer-ity of the government and mining companies to resolvethese inherent problems of mining. Actions speak louderthan words on this matter.

The rhetoric of support for small-scaleminingSurprisingly, the MAP has one section devoted to thegovernment’s support and promotion of small scale min-

ing. In fact, it even includes the identification of small-scale mining areas. However, the small-scale mining sec-tor is already governed by the Small Scale Mining Act,which a lot of gold panners have rejected. What can begleaned from this strategy is the overriding interest ofthe government to generate revenue from small scaleminers as they continue to grow in numbers, and to regu-late their activities, so that rich mineral deposits will bemainly for large-scale corporate mining.

ConclusionThe MAP is brazenly designed to further weaken any re-maining protective measures that regulate the miningindustry leading to the complete sell- out of the people’smineral resources to large-scale corporate mining. Itclearly follows the dictates and whims of mining compa-nies and foreign investors to the detriment of the people’slivelihood sources, national patrimony and environment.The NMP and MAP pretend to be for environmental pro-tection, yet do not provide for a strict regulatory regimefor mining corporations, in spite of their appalling recordof ecological disasters. Because of the government’s fa-voring of mining companies over the rights and welfareof the people, this is another form of national oppression ofindigenous peoples and an imperialist imposition to fur-ther exploit and control the nation’s mineral wealth. Itcan be expected that more conflicts will take place in min-ing-affected communities with the onslaught of foreignmining companies fully supported by the State and itsmachineries. The people must then brace themselves andstrengthen their ranks to defend their rights and securethe people’s resources. It is with the people’s vigilance,collective and sustained actions using various legitimateforms of struggle and defense, and with the support of thebroad public, that we can prevent this aggressive plan tofurther marginalize the already impoverished people ofthe countryside.

First published in Hapit, the official publication of the CordilleraPeoples’ Alliance.

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Editor’s note: As this book was being prepared for publica-tion, the Supreme Court announced the reversal of its ear-lier decision declaring portions of the Philippine Mining Actas unconstitutional. These provisions pertaining to the Fi-nancial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) allow fully(100%) foreign-owned corporations to profit from Philip-pine mineral resources.

the struggle continues...

On 1 December 2004, the Supreme Court reversed itsearlier ruling by saying:

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“THE CONSTITUTION should be read in broad, life-giv-ing strokes. It should not be used to strangulate economicgrowth or to serve narrow, parochial interests. Rather itshould be construed to grant the President and Congresssufficient discretion and reasonable leeway to enable themto attract foreign investments and expertise, as well as tosecure for our people and our posterity the blessings ofprosperity and peace.”

Clearly, the Supreme Court had bowed down to the pres-sures from various fronts pushing for the revitalization ofthe mining industry as the Philippine’s way out of thefinancial crisis.

Along with other groups, the Save the Abra River Move-ment issued the following declaration:

Justice cannot be served through deceptions. Even moreis justice inconceivable when what is branded as an act of

justice will bring about further injustices.

This clearly is what the Supreme Court has done when itshed its independent image and kowtowed to Malacanangand the mining local and transnational corporations orTNCs, in its recent most shameful decision.

We strongly condemn the Supreme Court’s reversal of itsruling which declared as unconstitutional the provisionsof the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that allow 100%foreign-owned corporations to explore, develop, exploit anduse the country’s mineral resources.

Even as the country’s highest court of justice now rulesthat the law, R.A. 7942, is constitutional, this does notmake it just. Decades of foreign plunder of the country’sresources have brought our country nowhere but mas-sive displacement of communities and devastation of ourenvironment.

“Justice for All . for the Present and the Future,” declaresthe Supreme Court decision. Yet its message rings hollow.It is as hollow as the weak and deceptive logic that runsthroughout the decision.

No, the people, much less the entire Filipino nation,present and future will not benefit from the historicaland present injustice foisted by the latest Supreme Courtruling. The ruling can never be for the “greater good ofthe greatest number,” as the Supreme Court said.

For more verily, the stark truth remains: Philippine min-ing operates under the sponsorship of mining TNCs forand only for their interest of amassing profits. And open-ing the whole country for the complete and unhinderedexploitation and greed of mining TNCs, fully foreign-owned corporations, can only bring about greater dam-nation for the greatest number of our people. Not to men-tion that the Supreme Court decision brashly sidestepsthe issue of sovereignty which it ironically sought to up-hold in its earlier decision.

History has already given us an overwhelming proof ofhow Philippine mining, as presently constituted, oper-ates with impunity against our political and economicsovereignty, our environmental security, and evenagainst the human rights of the greater and increasingnumber of our people, especially our national minorities.

Signed by:KALIKASAN-People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE)Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC)Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)Save the Abra River Movement (STARM)Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)

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health profile of communities livingnear corporate gold miningoperations in mankayan, benguetPreliminary Findings of an Environmental and Occupational Hazard Assessment

IntroductionGold mining has been in existence since ancient times.With the rapid advances in technology, sophisticated ma-chineries and processes are now used to extract the mostamount of gold from the ore. This large-scale extractionof mineral resources is not without its deleterious effectson the health of the mineworkers and communities liv-ing around the mine sites.

This study focuses on the operations of the Lepanto Con-solidated Mining Company (LCMCo or Lepanto) in themunicipality of Mankayan, Benguet Province. It is 50minutes flight by light airplane north of Manila, and 5hours (95 kms) from Baguio City by bus. Mankayan hasa total population of 34,502 individuals1. As of August2002, LCMCo employed 1,949 employees.

Lepanto has been mining in the Mankayan area since1936. They have used the tributaries of the Abra Riveras part of their mine waste disposal system. The commu-nities living along the Abra River have complained ofdecreased agricultural and fishing yield, loss of plant life,death of domestic animals and various health complaintsthey attribute to the operations of LCMCo. It is these com-plaints aired by the community residents andmineworkers which this study hopes to document andvalidate.

This research also studies the occupational hazards facedby mineworkers employed by Lepanto as they are con-sidered a distinct population within the area.

ObjectivesGeneral Objective:In the period of two (2) years, this research project aims

to describe the health profile of communities living adja-cent to large-scale gold mining operations.

Specific Objectives:1. To determine the prevalence of symptoms attributed toacid mine drainage among residents of exposed commu-nities.

2. To correlate these symptoms with existing heavy metalcontent in the mine drainage flow to downstream rivers.

3. To determine blood levels of selected heavy metals andcyanide among residents of exposed communities.

4. To determine the prevalence of work-related symptomsamong corporate mineworkers.5. To relate these symptoms with existing occupationalhazards in the mine site.

MethodologyA. Environmental Hazard AssessmentThree (3) communities (sitios) were chosen for this part ofthe study: (1) Sitio Paalaban, Barangay Paco, Mankayan,Benguet (Paalaban) – It is the community nearest thecorporate mining operations. The community is locatedalong the side of a mountain, ranging in elevation from687 masl to 1,030 masl (meters above sea level); (2) SitioBatbato, Barangay Cabitin, Mankayan, Benguet(Cabitin) – It is the community located just above theLepanto Mine Tailings Dam 5A, at elevation 780 masl upto 1,030 masl; and (3) Sitio Camay, Barangay ComillasNorth, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur (Camay) – It is situated ap-proximately 4 km downstream from Mine Tailings Dam5A. The community is situated right along the banks ofthe Baguyos River, into which Tailings Dam 5A drains.

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A total of 788 residents from Paalaban, Cabitin and Camaywere included in this study. The 15-44 year age grouppredominates in all 3 communities. In terms of gender,male and females are almost equally distributed in eachof the 3 communities.

Questionnaire-guided interviews were conducted amongthe residents of Paalaban, Cabitin and Camay in May andOctober 2003. (This questionnaire was based partiallyon Dr. Elizabeth Guilette’s “Performing a Community As-sessment”.2)

Also in May 2003, 3 serial water samples (Day 1-6:00pm, Day 2-6:00 am and 6:00 pm) were taken simulta-neously at 4 sites (Spring located upstream from Lepanto,Lepanto Carbon-in-Pulp Mill Outlet, Mine Tailings Dam5A, and downstream after merging of Baguyos andApaoan Rivers). A spot water sample was also taken fromthe Lepanto Carbon-in-Pulp Mill Outlet on 12 June 2003(1:00 am) to validate the claims of residents andmineworkers that levels of toxic chemicals in mine drain-age rises when the mill site is flushed out prior to shutdown during holidays.

Because of budget limitations, it was deemed more cost-effective if measurements of blood levels of toxic chemi-cals among the residents beundertaken after prelimi-nary analysis of environ-mental measurements andthe symptoms survey were

analysed. This way, biological monitoring could be morefocused in terms of subjects and chemicals to be tested.

B. Occupational Hazard AssessmentQuestionnaire-guided interviews with physical examina-tion were conducted among corporate mineworkers whowere contacted through the Lepanto Employees Union.(The questionnaire used was modified from the US MinesSafety and Health Administration.3)

We were able to interview 88 workers (representing 5percent of the total workforce), 6 of whom are retiredemployees of Lepanto. The mean age of the workers is42.5 years (standard deviation 9.25), with the youngestbeing 19 and the oldest being 57. Seventy (70) of theworkers interviewed are directly involved in undergroundmining (includes Mine Development, Mine Services, MineProduction, Mine Mechanical, Geological Mine Engineer-ing).

ResultsA. Environmental Hazard Assessment

The residents of the 3 communities reported the followingroutes of exposure to mine drainage:

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Inhalation occurs anytime the residents are in the vicinity of the mine drainage. Immersion occurs when they cross theriver, bathe in the river, swim in the river or when they are engaged in small-scale mining. Ingestion usually occursamong children who accidentally drink river water while swimming or playing near the river.

Cough (48.5%), nasal irritation (31.6%), skin symptoms such as rash, pruritus and burning sensation (31.6%), eyeirritation(16.5%) and vomiting (10.5%) were the most prevalent symptoms reported in relation to exposure to minedrainage.

For Paalaban, prevalence of symptoms for Upperand Lower Paalaban were compared to see if therewas any correlation with geographical proximityto the site of mine drainage. Upper Paalaban occu-pies approximately the highest third of the com-munity (around 915 to 1,030 masl). LowerPaalaban represents the houses located on the lower2/3 of the mountain and are nearer to the minedrainage flow. More symptoms were reportedamong those in Lower than in Upper Paalaban.

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SYMPTOM Phi value p value significant

Skin Symptoms 0.240 0.000 yesEye Irritation 0.119 0.018 yesNasal Irritation 0.123 0.015 yesVomiting 0.146 0.004 yes

Upon statistical analysis using phi coefficient for 2x2tables, it was found that the differences in prevalence ofskin symptoms, eye irritation, nasal irritation and vom-iting between Upper and Lower Paalaban were significantat alpha=0.05.

We used 2 standards to assess the levels of heavy metalsand cyanide. In the Philippines, it is the Department ofEnvironment and Natural Resources (DENR) that setsthe standards for industrial effluents.4 However, the

United States Environmental Protection Agency publishesthe “National Recommended Water Quality Criteria”which are “criteria for water quality accurately reflect-ing the latest scientific knowledge. . .based solely on dataand scientific judgments on the relationship between pol-lutant concentrations and environmental and humanhealth effects.”5

We found that based on one or both standards, levels ofcyanide were elevated at the CIP Mill Outlet and at Tail-ings Dam 5A. Lead and mercury levels were elevated atthe CIP Mill Outlet and at Tailings Dam 5A during thespot sample taken during the June 12 holiday.

B. Occupational Hazard AssessmentAmong the 88 workers included in this survey, only 23had not suffered from any accidents. Prevalence of inju-ries are as follows:

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Cause of Injury Frequency Rate

Rock/ Timber Fall 44 44.90Tool Involved 15 15.31Machine Involved 8 8.16Load Involved 4 4.08Vehicle Involved 4 4.08Slippery Surface 1 1.02Not Specified 22 22.45TOTAL 98 100.00

The interviewed mineworkers attributed their injuries to the following causes:

Twenty percent (20.41%) of injuries required hospitalization, 14.29% required suturing. There was an observation bysome that supervisors try to convince them not to report their injuries so that these are not included in official records.Others who are confined in the hospital or at home are asked to sign the time-in record so that no lost-time is reported.There is also a perception among the workers that not all information about their illnesses is revealed to them at thecompany hospital. Many prefer to have their x-rays and laboratory examinations done outside even if they have to payfor these themselves.

In terms of personal protective equipment, reported use is as follows:

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Workers report that it is the workers’ responsibility to ask for replacement of worn-out equipment such as ear plugs.Oftentimes, these are out-of-stock and the worker has to keep coming back to the supplies office.

The most prevalent work-associated symptoms reported by the workers were the following:

The most prevalent physical findings are the following:

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DiscussionA. Environmental Hazard AssessmentThe residents of the 3 communities of Paalaban, Camayand Cabitin report exposure to mine drainage most com-monly through inhalation, less commonly through im-mersion and least commonly through ingestion. The mostprevalent symptoms reported as a consequence of expo-sure were: cough (48.5%), nasal irritation (31.6%), skinsymptoms such as rash, pruritus and burning sensation(31.6%), eye irritation (16.5%) and vomiting (10.5%).Statistical analysis showed that the differences in preva-lence of skin symptoms, eye irritation, nasal irritationand vomiting reported among Lower Paalaban (nearerthe mine drainage) compared to Upper Paalaban (far-ther away from the mine drainage) were significant.Environmental monitoring showed that levels of lead,mercury and cyanide were elevated at the outlet of thecompany carbon-in-pulp mill and at Mine Tailings Dam5A.

The symptoms reported by the residents are compatiblewith known acute and chronic effects of lead, mercuryand cyanide. However these symptoms are by no meansspecific to toxicity to these heavy metals.

The residents of Paalaban are most at risk for developingsymptoms related to these elevated levels of toxic chemi-cals since they live nearest the company mill outlet. Thedifferences in prevalence of symptoms between those liv-ing nearer the mine drainage (Lower Paalaban) as com-pared to those living farther away (Upper Paalaban) isthe strongest indicator of a positive association betweenexposure to mine drainage and the development of symp-toms.

A confounding variable identified in this study is thatmore residents of Lower Paalaban engage in small-scalemining and are therefore increasing their exposure tomine drainage more than the residents not involved insmall scale mining.

It would also be plausible to consider that as one goesdownstream, the prevalence of mine drainage-associatedsymptoms would decrease. However, this trend cannotbe firmly established among the 3 communities studied.A possible confounder is geographical elevation – While

Cabitin is nearer the Mine Tailings Dam 5A, it is alsosituated at 100-343 meters above it. The community ofCamay, on the other hand, sits right beside the river.

A major limitation of this study is its reliance on exposureand symptom recall by the respondents. Respondents aremore likely to report symptoms they developed acutelyafter exposure rather than symptoms that developed along time after the exposure. This could have resulted ininformation bias.

In addition, since this is a prevalence study changes inthe pattern of symptoms over time were not taken intoconsideration.

B. Occupational Hazard AssessmentMining accounted for 30,000 disabling injuries in the USin 1988 (or an injury rate of 4.9 per 100,000 or 0.49%).This study found an injury rate of 73.87% among thecorporate mineworkers studied. The most prevalent inju-ries were lacerations (43.18%), crushing injuries(17.05%), bruises (14.77%) and fractures (13.64%).Twenty percent (20%) of these cases required hospitaliza-tion.

A 1997 study of underground gold mining in Itogon,Benguet reported being hit by falling objects as the lead-ing type of accident.6 In our study, rock and timber fallwas also identified as the leading cause of injury, followedby accidents involving a machine or a tool.

Most prevalent among the work-associated symptoms re-ported by the mineworkers were: phlegm production(79.55%), joint pain (78.41%), eye irritation (67.05%),headache (55.68%), dyspnea (48.86%) and dizziness(36.36%). Most prevalent abnormal physical findingswere hypertension (21.43%) and perforated eardrum(19.32%).

The above findings were related with the hazards identi-fied by the mineworkers during focus group discussions.A description of specific hazards per job title were obtainedfrom interviews of the mineworkers. However only themore prominent hazards are mentioned here:

1. Dust, Fumes and Other Inhaled Particles

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Among the most prevalent symptoms reported by themineworkers are phlegm production (79.55%) and dysp-nea (48.86%). They described their phlegm as becomingblack in color after exposure to mine dust and fumes fromblasting.

The mineworkers complained in particular about thefumes coming from the diesel engines of the trucks (LPT/LHD) they now use inside the enclosed mine tunnels. Ex-posure to diesel particulate matter is associated with in-creased rates of death and disease. As early as 1989, the

International Agency for Research on Cancer pronouncedthat “diesel engine exhaust is probably carcinogenic tohumans”.7

However, the development of pneumoconiosis are hard todetect through symptom survey and physical examina-tion alone. These need to be documented through repeatedchest x-rays and pulmonary function testing.

2. NoiseThe US National Institute for Occupational Safety and

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Health (NIOSH) has identified noise-induced hearing lossas 1 of the top 10 work-related diseases and injuries inmining. The workers in LCMCo report the rock drill ma-chine, blasting, the hoist mechanism and the crushermachines as the primary sources of noise. The need to uselight signals or sign language or to shout is an indicationthat noise levels are above 85-90 dB most of the time.NIOSH requires hearing protection at the exposure limitof 90dBA over an 8-hour period.8 The Philippines has simi-lar standards.

The high prevalence of ruptured eardrum (19.32%) andear discharge (4.55%) during the physical examinationmust be further investigated in relation to this. Some ofthese cases of ruptured eardrum may be related to dyna-mite blasting underground.

3. HeatHeat is a hazard present in enclosed workplaces such asunderground mines. A similar case exists in LCMCo whereworkers report conditions of extreme heat underground.Frequent heat exhaustion has been reported at Level 700.

4. VibrationVibration may be whole body or hand-arm. Whole bodyvibration is considered a generalized stressor affectingtruck drivers and heavy equipment operators, among oth-ers. Musculoskeletal disorders from hand-arm vibration isrelated to ischemia of the small blood vessels supplyingthe fingers brought about by the prolonged operation ofhand-held machinery.9 Thirty-one percent (31.82%) ofworkers at Lepanto complained of such numbness.

5. Ergonomic stresses, such as heavy lifting and/or pro-longed awkward positions –

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders is the term usedto refer to disorders involving the nerves, tendons, musclesand support structures which may be caused or made worseby the work place. At LCMCo, 78.41% of workers reportedjoint pains, usually associated with lifting heavy objectsat work. Physical examination also showed 17% with swell-ing of the extremities.

While hypertension is the most common physical finding,the prevalence rate of 28.41% among the mineworkers is

only slightly higher than that obtained by the Food andNutrition Research Institute in the Cordillera Region(CAR).10

Special note must also be made regarding the inconsistentsupply and use of personal protective equipment.

Conclusions and recommendationThis preliminary report makes the following conclusions:

1. The presence of toxic levels of lead, mercury and cya-nide have been documented at the outlet of the corporatemill site and at Mine Tailings Dam 5A.

2. Residents of the 3 communities surveyed reported expo-sure to mine drainage through inhalation, immersion andingestion. The symptoms reported are compatible withthe toxic effects of lead, mercury and cyanide.

3. A statistically significant association between proxim-ity of residence to the mine drainage site and prevalenceof symptoms was found in Upper and Lower Paalaban.

4. Among the corporate mineworkers studied, the mostprevalent injuries were lacerations (43.18%), crushinginjuries (17.05%), bruises (14.77%) and fractures(13.64%) usually involving rock or timber fall. Twentypercent (20%) of these cases required hospitalization. Per-sonal protective equipment were inconsistently suppliedand used.

5. Most prevalent among the work-associated symptomsreported by the mineworkers were: phlegm production(79.55%), joint pain (78.41%), eye irritation (67.05%),headache (55.68%), dyspnea (48.86%) and dizziness(36.36%). Most prevalent abnormal physical findingswere hypertension (21.43%) and perforated eardrum(19.32%). These were related with the physical, chemicaland ergonomic hazards identified at the corporate miningoperations.

The following recommendations are thus put forward:

1. Proceed with the measurement of blood levels of cya-nide with focus on Paalaban residents who live nearest themine drainage. Correlate these measurements with the

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present findings.

2. Conduct further research with quantitative measuresof exposure and symptomatology. A case-control study isappropriate for this, using a peasant community with simi-lar ethnic background but not living along the Abra Riveras control.

3. Conduct further research to confirm the relation be-tween goiter prevalence rates and chronic cyanide poison-ing and between nutrition status and arsenic poisoning.

4. Institute a surveillance system in the area in order todocument any chronic health effects of mine drainage ex-

posure. This surveillance system may take the form of acohort study.

5. Conduct on-site quantification of hazards such as noise,heat, etc.

6. Conduct further studies with focus on worker’s pulmo-nary health, including x-rays and pulmonary functiontesting.

7. Feedback the results of this study to the company, theworkers’ union and concerned government agencies forproper action.

1 www.census.gov.ph/census20002 Guillette, Elizabeth Ph.D., Performing a Community Health Assessment, Gainsville, Florida, USA.3 Department of Labor-Mines Safety and Health Administration, Guidelines for Medical Surveillance and Biological Monitoring for MinersExposed to Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury, USA.4Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Administrative Order No. 35 (Revised Effluent Regulations of 1990, Revising andAmending the Effluent Regulations of 1982), Philippines5 Environmental Protection Agency, National Recommended Water Quality Criteria, USA, 2002.6 Underground Gold Mining in Itogon, Benguet: Implications and Impact of OHS-Hazards and Environmental Protection Liabilities on Workers,Communities and Ecosystems, Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Develoment, 1997, unpublished work.7 US Mining Safety and Health Administration, Practical Ways to Reduce Exposure to Diesel Exhaust in Mining—A Toolbox, www.msha.gov8 Mining Safety and Health Administration, New Standards Add Protections for Miners Exposed to Noise, News Release, United States ofAmerica, September 1999.9 Ibid.10 Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, Philippines, April 2001

Paper by Ana Marie R. Leung, MDChairperson, Department of Preventive and Community MedicineSaint Louis University College of Medicine

1st Prize Poster Exhibit Contest5th Health Research for Action National ForumHealth Policy Development and Planning Bureau, Department of HealthPhilippine Council for Health Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD)June 3-4, 2004

Funding Support Provided By:Saint Louis University College of Medicine-Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Memorial Foundation Twinning ProjectPhilippine Council for Health Research and Development

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health indices

Crude Birth Rate*Crude Death Rate*Infant Mortality Rate**Maternal Mortality Rate**

Health Indices CAR Ilocos Region

5-Year Average(1998-2002)

2003 % Increase/(Decrease)

5-Year Average(1998-2002)

2003 % Increase/(Decrease)







I. Basic Health Indices

*Rate per 1,000 population**Rate per 1,000 livebirths

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II. Leading Causes of Morbidity and Mortality












Diseases ofthe Heart

Diseases ofthe VascularSystem



TB, all forms


ChronicObstructivePulmonaryDiseases andAlliedConditions

Otherdiseases oftheRespiratorySystem



Source:PhilippineHealthStatistics,1995 (NationalObjectives forHealth)


Cardiovascu-lar Disease










Source: DOH-Region I,2003

Ilocos Sur




Accident,Violence andPoisoning


TB, all forms

Multiple OrganFailure

Peptic Ulcer


Renal Failure

Source: 2001Health Data fromthe Ilocos SurProfile 2002



CongestiveHeart Failure

Cerebrovascu-lar Diseases

Multiple OrganFailure

Pulmonary TB

VehicularAccident\DiabetesMultiple StabWoundsDrowningSepsis

Source:CervantesMunicipalHealth Office,2003(Note:Causes listedunder 6 havethe same rate)



Pulmonary TB

Bleeding, PepticUlcer, ChronicAnemia,Diabetes,Drowning,PneumoniaVehicularAccident,ChronicObstructivePulmonaryDisease,PepticUlcer Disease

Source: RuralHealth Unit-Quirino.2003(Note:Causes listedunder 3 havethe same rate)




CP Arrest 2°Senility


CongestiveHeart Failure

Pneumonia,Senile Deb.Disease

CerebralHemorrhage dueto vehicularaccident


CerebralHemorrhage dueto gunshotwound


Source: SantaMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics









Diabetes Mellitus


Multi- organfailure

Source: BantayMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics



Cerebrovas-cular Accident




CongestiveHeart Failure




Head Injury

Source: ViganCity HealthOffice, 2002HealthStatistics



UndeterminedEtiology R99

Cancer, allforms M8000/3

COPD J44.9

Senility FO3


HeartDiseases/CVD F11


GunshotWound N34;DrowningW69; StabWound Y09


Source:CaoayanMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics

A. Leading Causes of Mortality

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Leading Causes of Mortality continued














Cancer (AllForms)


TB, allforms


Peptic UlcerDisease







Cardiovascu-lar Disease/Cerebrovas-cular Disease



Peptic UlcerDisease

Gun ShotWound

Diseases ofthe Heart



Renal Failure

Source: AbraProvincialHealth Office,2002



Cancers(colon,liver, vulva,lung)


Cardiac Arrest


Heart Disease,CongestiveHeart Failure,Pneumonia,Rabies,Ulcer,Chronic RenalFailure

Source: DOH-CAR, 2002




Source: DOH-CAR, 2002




Hyperten-sive HeartDisease







Diseases of theHeart



TB, respiratory

Source: DOH-CAR, 2002









Source: DOH-CAR, 2002








Acute RenalFailure

ConvulsiveSeizure (sic)

Source:MankayanRural HealthUnit, 2001, ascollated byCHESTCORE

Benguet MountainProvince

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B. Leading Causes of Morbidity




















Diseasesof TheHeart


Source:PhilippineHealthStatistics,1997(NationalObjectivesfor Health)







Chicken Pox

Typhoid andParatyphoid


Heart Diseases

Dengue Fever

Source: DOHRegion I, 2003

Ilocos Sur






TB, all forms

Diseases ofThe Heart



Chicken Pox

Source: 2001Health Datafrom theIlocos SurProvincialProfile 2002


UpperRespiratoryTract Infections




Skin Disorders

OtherNutritional andVitaminDisorders





Source:CervantesMunicipalHealth Office,2003



EENT Disorders







Systemic ViralIllness


Source: QuirinoRural HealthUnit, 2003



Viral Infection

Dental Cases






Wound Infection


Source: SantaMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics





Dental Caries





EENT Disorder


Source:BantayMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics






Other InfectiousDiseases



Minor Surgery/Injuries

Nutritional andVitaminDeficiency


Source: ViganCity HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics


ARI JO6.9Gastro


Injuries (OpenWound)

Skin Diseases






Anemia (IronDeficiency)050.9

Source:CaoayanMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics

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Upper Respiratory TractInfection/ Cough andColdsAcute LowerRespiratory TractInfection and PneumoniaInfluenzaDiarrheaHypertensionTonsillitisParasitismAsthmaSkin Diseases

Source: DOH-CAR,2003


Acute UpperRespiratory TractInfectionBronchitis


PneumoniaDiarrheaHypertensionGastritisMeaslesWounds, all typesUrinary TractInfectionSource: AbraProvincial HealthOffice, 2002


Acute RespiratoryInfection



Urinary Tract InfectionGoiterHypertensionWound/ InjuryAllergic DermatitisPneumoniasAsthma

Source: Mankayan RuralHealth Unit, 2001, ascollated by CHESTCORE

Leading Causes of Morbidity continued

C. Deaths Due to CancerAmong the regions with the highest prevalence of reported cancers is Region I (third highest nationwide).Source: National Objectives for Health (Philippine Health Statistics), 1994).



Source: DOHwebsite

Region I


Source: DOHwebsite


14 (2000); 12 (2001);13 (2002)

Source: SantaMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002 HealthStatistics


34 (23 males,11 females)

Source: ViganCity HealthOffice, 2002HealthStatistics



Source: DOHwebsite



Source:Mankayan RuralHealth Unit, 2001

*total cases reported

Mt. ProvinceBenguet




4 5 6 7 8 910

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D. Cardiovascular Diseases1. Morbidity rates due to Cardiovascular DiseasesRegion I has the second highest morbidity rates due to cardiovascular disease. CAR has third highest morbidity ratesdue to cardiovascular disease.Source: National Objectives for Health (Philippine Health Statistics), 1994).

2. Percentages of Adults With Varying Degrees of HypertensionRegion I has the highest proportion of adults with high blood pressure.Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

Degree of National Region I CARHypertensionMild 14* 41 16.3Moderate 4.3 4.5 3.8Severe 2.1 0.9 1.0Very Severe 0.6 0.5 0.2TOTAL 21.0 49.6 21.3Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

*All values in percent (%) unless otherwise stated.

E. Prevalence of Goiter Among Filipinos, 7 Years Old and Above

National Region I Santa Vigan Caoayan CAR

6.7* 6.3* 4 cases 66 cases non-prevalent 8.4*

Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts andFigures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

Source: SantaMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002 HealthStatistics

Source: Vigan CityHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics

Source: CaoayanMunicipal Health Office,2002 Health Statistics

Source: PhilippineNutrition Facts andFigures, FNRI-DOST,April 2001

* All values in percent (%) unless otherwise stated.

II. Maternal and Child Health

National Region I Ilocos Sur Santa Vigan CAR Abra Benguet Mt. Province

48.93* 11.30 8.21 2% 4.03% 10.2 7.9 5.3 8.9

Source:PhilippineHealthStatistics,1995(NationalObjec-tives forHealth)

Source:DOHRe-gion I,2003

Source:DOHRegion I,2003







* All values per 1,000 live births unless otherwise stated.

A. Infant Health1. Infant Mortality Rate

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2. Leading Causes of Infant Mortality


Respiratoryconditions ofthe fetus andnewborn




Birth Injury andDifficult Labor



Avitaminosisand otherNutritionalDisorders

Other Diseasesof theRespiratorySystem


Source:PhilippineHealthStatistics, 1994(NationalObjectives forHealth)








Congenital HeartDiseases




Source: DOHRegion I, 2003

Ilocos Sur







Heart Disease



Sudden InfantDeathSyndrome

Source: 2001Health Data fromthe ProvincialHealth Office (inthe Ilocos SurProfile 2002)


No infantmortalitiesreported

Source:Cervantes RuralHealth Unit,2003


No infantmortalitiesreported

Source: QuirinoRural HealthUnit, 2003


Prematurity(2002); SepsisNeonatorum(2001)

Source: SantaMunicipal HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics



Congenital HeartDisease


Source: ViganCity HealthOffice, 2002Health Statistics







Neonatal SepsisDiseases of theHeart

Congenital HeartDisease



Source: DOH-CAR, 2001





AcuteRespiratorySyndrome,AcuteRespiratoryInfection,Pneumonia,Dehydration,CongestiveHeart Failure

Source: AbraProvincialHealth Office,2002

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NeonatalDelivery andOtherComplica-tions relatedtoPregnancyOccurring inthe Courseof Labor,Delivery andPuerperium



Pregnancywith AbortiveOutcome

HemorrhageRelated toPregnancy

MaternalMortalityRateSource:PhilippineHealthStatistics,1994(NationalObjectivesfor Health)







Source: DOHRegion I,2003

Ilocos Sur




Source: DOHRegion I,2003


No maternaldeathsreported

Source:CervantesRural HealthUnit, 2003


No maternaldeathsreported

Source:Quirino RuralHealth Unit,2003



Source:Vigan CityHealthOffice, 2002HealthStatistics





Placenta PreviaTotalis



Septic InducedAbortion




0.7 (DOH-CAR,2003)

Source: DOH-CAR, 2001









No maternalmortalitiesreported.




B. Maternal Mortality

* All values per 1,000 live births

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C. Nutrition Status1. Food ConsumptionThe Ilocos Region is one of two regions which are thebiggest consumers of rice products.

Ilocos Region is one of three regions which record thelargest consumption of vegetables.

Ilocos and CAR are two of three regions which recordthe largest consumption of vegetables.

2. Anthropometric MeasurementsThe Ilocos Region has the fourth highest incidence of underweight children (38 in every 100)

Weight-for-Age (Percentage of Children 0-5 Years Old who are Underweight)

National Region I Ilocos Sur CAR Benguet Abra Mountain Province

32.0 36.2 26.3 26.7 11.6 34.8 18.8

Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

Height-for-Age (Percentage of Children 0-5 Years Old who are Stunted

National Region I Ilocos Sur CAR Benguet Abra Mountain Province

34.0 26.7 20.6 41 34.2 33.4 49.0

Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

Weight-for-Height (Percentage of Children 0-5 Years Old who are Wasted)

National Region I Ilocos Sur CAR Benguet Abra Mountain Province

6.0 7.8 8.0 3.3 1.2 8.9 0.3

Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

% Adequacy National Region I CAR

Energy Intake 87.8 90.0 94.6

Protein Intake 106.2 103.3 105.6

Source: Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001

Percent Adequacy of Mean One-Day per CapitaEnergy and Protein Intake

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(Eligible Population = 6-59 mos old unless otherwise stated)







Region I






Source: Consoli-dated Sheet ofOperation TimbangResults, DOHRegion I,2003EligiblePopulation = 0-83months

Ilocos Sur






Source:ConsolidatedSheet ofOperationTimbangResults, DOHRegion I, 2003

Cervantes(0-71 months)





Source:CervantesMunicipalHealth Office,1st quarter2004


None reported



Source: RHU-Region I, 2001


312 children



Source: SantaMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics

Bantay(0 - 59


693 children




Source:BantayMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics


age bracket)

744 children




Source: ViganCity HealthOffice, 2002HealthStatistics

Caoayan(0 - 59


475 children



Source:CaoayanMunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics

Moderately Under-weight

Severely Underweight(Overweight)




Source: DOH-CAR,2001




Source: DOH-CAR,2001




Source: DOH-CAR,2001

Mountain Province



Source: DOH-CAR,2001

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3. Vitamin A DeficiencyAbra is identified as one of the provinces wherepregnant women are at high risk of sufferingfrom Vitamin A Deficiency.

4. Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Percentage of Selected Populations With Iron-Deficiency Anemia(Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001)

Children 6 mos-1yr old

Children 1-5 yrs

Children 6 mos – 5 yrs

Pregnant Women

Lactating Women































Children 5 mos-5yrs old

Pregnant Women

Lactating Women





















Percentage of Selected Populations Who AreDeficient in Vitamin A(Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures, FNRI-DOST, April 2001)

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Region I



Source:EnvironmentalHealth Report,DOH Region I,


III. Water and SanitationA. Water Supply (percentage of population served)

Level I

Level II

Level III

National Region I Ilocos Sur



Source: Prov’l.Water Supply,Sewerage andSanitationSector Plan,1995 (in theIlocos SurProfile 2002)





Source:CervantesMunicipal HealthOffice, 2004





Source:DOH-CAR, 2003





Source:DOH-CAR, 2003





Source:DOH-CAR, 2003

Mt. Province




Source:DOH-CAR, 2003

Level I: Spring or protected wellLevel II: Piped system serving 4-6 households, within 25 metersLevel III: Full waterworks system with faucet per household

B. Sanitary Toilet Facilities

Householdwith SanitaryToilet

Householdwith CompleteSanitationFacilities


National Ilocos Sur



Source:EnvironmentalHealth Report,DOH Region I,





Health Unit,2004




Source: RuralHealth Unit,

Quirino, 2001


2,340 (water-sealed), 120


Source: SantaMunicipal

Health Office,2002 HealthStatistics


4,864 (92%)


MunicipalHealth Office,2002 HealthStatistics



Source: ViganCity Health

Office, 2002Health



875 (water-sealed, sewer/

septic tank,exclusive);208 (water-

sealed, sewer/septic tank,shared); 751

(water-sealed,other dep.,exclusive);457 (water-

sealed, otherdep., shared)

130 (closedpit); 71 (open



Source: NSO(in CaoayanCLUP 2000)

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Household with Sanitary Toilet

Household without Complete Sanitation Facilities





Source: Environmental Health Report, DOH-CAR, 2003







Mountain Province



Sanitary Toilet Facilities continued

C. Garbage Disposal



National Region I



tal HealthReport, DOH

Region I,2003

Ilocos Sur


Source: DOHRegion I,





HealthOffice, 2004



Source: RuralHealth Unit,

Quirino, 2001





Office, 2002Health





tal HealthReport, DOH-

CAR, 2003





Mt. Province


Garbage Disposal Method (Household)

BurningOpen DumpingCompostingPicked up by service garbage trucks/cartsBuryingFeeding to animalsOthersTotal




Source: SanitaryInspector’s Office, Sept.2000 (in Cervantes CLUP





Source: Santa MunicipalHealth Office, 2002 Health






Source: 1990 NSO (inBantay CLUP 2000)

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1. Health Resourcesa. Government Facilities

Rural Health Unit

Barangay HealthUnit/Station/


Public Hospital

Private Hospital

National Region I





Source: DOHRegion I,


Ilocos Sur





Source: DOHRegion I,







HealthOffice, 2004




San Emilio







Office, 2002Health










Source: 2001Health Data

from theProvincial

Health Office(as quoted in

the IlocosSur

ProvincialProfile 2002)



Rural Health Unit

Barangay Health Unit/Station/Center

Public Hospitals Under the Local Government Unit

Public Hospitals Under the National Government

Private Hospital

















Mountain Province






Source: Licensing, Regulations and Enforcement Division, DOH-CAR, 2003

Source: Department of Health website




Bessang Pass District HospitalSalcedo Medicare and Community HospitalGabriela Silang Memorial Hospital (Provincial)Central Ilocos Sur District HospitalMagsingal District HospitalSanta Lucia District HospitalSinait District HospitalSouthern Ilocos Sur District HospitalAbra Provincial HospitalDolores Medicare and Community HospitalLa Paz District HospitalVilla Viciosa Medicare and Community HospitalBucay District HospitalAtok District HospitalKapangan Medicare and Community HospitalBenguet General Hospital (Provincial)

Main Government Hospitals Per Province

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b. Government Health Workers










Active BHWs*

Dental Aide

Trained BirthAttendant


Region I




No data



No data







Source:DOHRegion I,

2003;employedby LGU

Ilocos Sur




No data



No data







Source: DOHRegion I,

2003;employed by



1 (MHO)+ 2(hospital)

1 (hospital)

1 (MHO) + 8(hospital)

5 (hospital)

6 (MHO)

1 (hospital)

1 (MHO) + 1(hospital)

1 (hospital)


Health Office,1999 (in

CervantesCLUP 2000)








Source: RuralHealth Unit,

Quirino, 2001


1 (MHO)

1 (MHO)

1 (MHO)

4 (MHO)

1 (MHO)



CLUP; 2001Health Data

from theProvincial

Health Office(the Ilocos SurProfile 2002)





No data



No data







Source: DOH-CAR, 2003;

does notinclude health

workers inhospitals and

provincialhealth offices





No data



No data







Source: DOH-CAR, 2003;

does notinclude health

workers inhospitals and

provincialhealth offices





No data


No data







Source: DOH-CAR, 2003;

does notinclude health

workers inhospitals and

provincialhealth offices

Mt. Province




No data



No data







Source: DOH-CAR, 2003;

does notinclude health

workers inhospitals and

provincialhealth offices

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c. Health Budget

2001 unlessotherwise stated

2002 (Projected)

Per Person, PerYear




168.34(based on2002)

Region I Ilocos Sur Cervantes



163.38(based on 2004)

Source: CervantesMunicipal Health Office,





215.20(based on2002)

Source: Rural HealthUnit, Quirino, 2001




Source: SantaMunicipal Health

Office, 2002Health Statistics


P1,500,000 MOE

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health effects of selected heavymetals and chemicals





INHALATION (industrialsetting)/ INGESTION (non-occupational exposures)*Most vulnerable agegroups: earliest prena-tal, immediately post-natal, elderly

INHALATION (most impor-tant route in industrial set-ting)/ INGESTION*More absorption in:children, persons defi-cient in calcium/ iron/vitamin D

INHALATION (industrialsetting)/ INGESTION(mainroute)/ SKIN CONTACT

respiratory problems

neurobehavioral effects (which may per-sist more than 10 years after the end ofexposure)

Convulsions, delirium, headache, dizziness,sleep disturbances, memory deficit andchanges in personality such as increasedirritability, acute encephalopathy

Nephropathy includes proximal tubule dam-age and dysfunction

Epigastric discomfort, nausea, anorexia,weight loss and dyspepsia, constipation

Fumes may cause metal fume fever withflu like symptoms, irritation of the upper res-piratory tract, metallic taste in the mouthand nausea

renal proteinuria

emotional changes (erethism), personalitychanges

slowed sensory nerve conduction,paresthesia, hyposthesia, intention tremors


Convulsions, delirium, coma, head-ache,dizziness, sleep disturbance, memorydeficit, personality changes

wrist drop (especially dominant hand), footdrop


tubular dysfunction, interstitial fibrosis,renal failure

epigastric discomfort, nausea, severe/intermittent abdominal cramps (lead colic)

increased incidence of miscarriage,abortion, stillbirth

bluish stippling along the lower incisors(Burton’s gum lead line)

interstitial pulmonary disease, pulmonaryfibrosis, increased incidence of lungadenocarcinoma

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INHALATION/INGESTION*Also inhaled intobacco smoke.




May cause hair and skin discoloration and keratinization ofthe hands and the soles of the feet.

Eyes: irritation, conjunctivitis, eyelid edema, brown/ greendiscoloration of the lens/ cornea and iris (chalcosis) leadingto blindness

nausea, headache- anemia, hemoglobinuria, massivehemolysis

ECG abnormalities

gastric pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, leg cramps,shock, stupor, paralysis, coma

exfoliative dermatitis, peripheral neuritis

Irritation of mucous membranes, dyspnea, headache, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, and agitation. Clinicaldeterioration and apnea often follow rapidly.

Inhalation of cadmium fumes may cause respiratory irritationwith a dry, sore throat and a metallic taste followed by acough, chest pain and difficulty in breathing. Bronchitis,pneumonitis and pulmonary edema have also been reportedas a result of the irritation of the fumes. A single, high levelexposure to cadmium can cause severe lung irritation whichmay be fatal.

Headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite and weight losshave also been reported and the liver, kidneys and bonemarrow may be injured by the presence of metal

liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension,angiosarcoma

hematuria, oliguria

Via inhalation:1st: weakness, loss of appetite,nausea, diarrhea2nd: conjuncitivitis, inflammation ofmucous membranes of the nose,larynx, respiratory passages, skinlesions3rd: peripheral neuritis, anemia,leukopenia-

Via ingestion:1. hyperpigmentation interspersed withsmaller areas of hypopigmentation onthe trunk and neck2. hyperkeratosis of palms and soleswith small corn-like elevations anddiffuse keratosis

known human carcinogen (lung andskin cancers, possibly other sites aswell)

Delayed neurologic syndrome associ-ated with leukoencephalo-pathy,conjunctival irritation from directcontact, and skin ulceration. Thyroidgland enlargement.

Residual symptoms after chronicexposure include a bitter almond tastein the mouth and headache.

irreversible lung damage

tubule proteinuria

suspected human carcinogen

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communities along abra river

Communities along the banks of the Abra River, presently affected ot threatened byfuture expansion of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation

MUNICIPALITY Barangay Land Area Total Popn. HouseholdsProvince Sitio (in hectares) (threatened) (threatened)MANKAYANBenguet Balili 4,821 866

Bedbed 985 174Bulalacao 2,881 508Cabiten 1,867 345Colalo 1,052 185Guinaoang 1,806 334Paco 7,100 1,376Palasaan 1,678 328Poblacion 3,606 784Sapid 4,003 679Tabio 3,280 637Taneg 1,423 279SubTotal 34,502 6,495

BUGUIASBenguet SubTotal (33,177) (6,312)BAUKOMountain Province SubTotal (27,729) (5,266)BONTOCMountain Province Mainit (1,162) (278)TADIANMountain Province Dacudac (1,279) (218)

Lenga (701) (122)Cadad-anan (1,150) (224)Pandayan (821) (158)Cagubatan (791) (156)Banaao (851) (162)Tue (778) (141)Poblacion (2,595) (541)Kayan East (969) (196)Kayan West (736) (142)Bunga (686) (126)Mabalite (458) (88)Proper

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MUNICIPALITY Barangay Land Area Total Popn. HouseholdsProvince Sitio (in hectares) (threatened) (threatened)

AluwegLubon (1,831) (352)SubTotal (13,646) (2,626)

CERVANTESIlocos Sur Remedios 4,356.0169 809 142

Concepcion(Poblacion) 209.8970 1,209 228Aluling 1,942.4159 1,109 228BulagaCawagMaupongAluling ProperRosario(Poblacion) 427.8638 1,658 306Comillas North 878.1433 1,587 302BisayotComillas South 2,479.5597 1,326 249BadanganNaipitCamayPilipil 850.0285 361 74SubTotal 11,140.924 8,059 1,529

QUIRINOIlocos Sur Banoen 1,159.6250 629 117

Cayus 3,188.2021 546 114Lamag 821.3875 781 146PatungkalewCabaroanMadapoy/MaupongMalideg 1,567.3750 696 126BanoenNamitpit 1,943.4186 1,032 182NamitpitBucnitPatiacan 6,339.9325 702 144Bab-asigMalitenInumanLegleg(Poblacion) 1,426.0000 1,489 278TumbagaSuagayan 2,658.6250 718 149Tubtuba 4,905.6659 537 92ApagSubTotal 24,010.2316 7,130 1,348

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environment watch: karayan abra

MUNICIPALITY Barangay Land Area Total Popn. HouseholdsProvince Sitio (in hectares) (threatened) (threatened)SAN EMILIOIlocos Sur Matibuey 945 180TUBOAbra Supo 633 111

Wayangan 388 80SubTotal 1,021 191

LUBAAbra Gayaman 1,071 186

Lul-luno 441 79Lusong 842 167Barit 590 110SubTotal 2,944 542

MANABOAbra San Ramon (West) 1,982 368

BugbogTigtigaakAyyeng (Poblacion) 1,340 286SubTotal 3,322 654

BUCAYAbra Abang 704 138

Madalipay 276 49Quimloong 492 85Layugan 845 166Pakiling 591 111Banglolao 505 100Tabiog 927 185Bangbangcag 894 185SubTotal 5,234 1,019

LAGANGILANGAbra Pawa 293 55

Presentar 589 124Laang 606 135Lagben 341 66SubTotal 1,829 380

TAYUMAbra Bumagcat 735 143

Gaddani 1,229 243Deet 822 156Patucannay 1,117 227Poblacion Tayum 2,342 485SubTotal 6,245 1,254

BANGUEDAbra Calaba 2,298 490

Poblacion Bangued 12,979 2,726Palao 1,502 290

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MUNICIPALITY Barangay Land Area Total Popn. HouseholdsProvince Sitio (in hectares) (threatened) (threatened)

Sta. Rosa 1,459 275Bangbangar 1,735 348Cabuloan 1,005 191SubTotal 20,978 4,320

LANGIDEN Abra Dalayap 467 89Mabungtot 460 101SubTotal 927 190

DOLORES* Abra SubTotal 9,864 2,106PIDIGAN Abra Pob. Pidigan 2,531 470

Pamutic 563 109Sulbec 632 121SubTotal 3,726 700

SAN QUINTINAbra Villa Mercedes 991 177

Palang 648 116PoblacionSan Quintin 708 137SubTotal 2,347 430

SANTAIlocos Sur Banaoang 268.0000 549 117

Namalangan 50.0000 698 141Rizal 200.0000 666 139Nagpanaoan 520.0000 503 96Sacuyya Norte 145.0000 747 149Sacuyya Sur 98.0000 550 108Ampandula 1,050.0000 541 111Basug 62.0000 264 54Dammay 458.0000 219 46Manueva 185.0000 885 187Mabilbila Sur 795.0000 1,555 277Oribi 20.0000 141 31Bucalag 65.0000 333 63Calungboyan 110.0000 424 88Casiber 50.0000 529 109Rancho 95.0000 608 125SubTotal 4,171.0000 9,212 1,841

BANTAYIlocos Sur San Mariano

(Sallacong) 610.8000 275 58Banaoang 823.2000 352 74Paing 1,557 315SubTotal 1,434.0000 2,184 447

VIGANIlocos Sur Raois 123.3000 1,295 276

Rugsuanan 90.4000 1,013 192Cabaroan Daya 106.0000 733 165

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MUNICIPALITY Barangay Land Area Total Popn. HouseholdsProvince Sitio (in hectares) (threatened) (threatened)

Sitio LeongiBongtolan 133.0000 508 104Sitio LeongiCamangaan 81.6000 783 155Sitio NalasinSubTotal 534.3000 4,332 892

CAOAYANIlocos Sur Puro 227.5500 1,170 231

Naguilian 64.8300 1,300 274PantayTamorong 428.4800 1,673 354Villamar 108.4000 1,197 226Don AlejandroQuirolgico (Pob.) 169.1600 1,165 246Nansuagao 187.6000 474 96SubTotal 1,186.0200 6,979 1,427

4 Provinces TOTAL*(including 121,916 23,839threatened) (197,630) (38,321)

*The population of the Municipality of Dolores (Abra) is not included in the totals pending theidentification of the specific barangays along the Abra River.

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environment watch: karayan abra

general profile: abra

Facts and figuresCapital — Bangued

Population — 209,491

Percentage to the region’s population — 15.3%

Land area (square km) — 3,975.55

Number of voting precincts — 672

Number of registered voters — 133,194

Number of congressional district — 1

Income class — 3rd class

IRA (2004) — 271,198,646

Legal basis of creation — Act 2711

Date of creation — 03-10-1917

Source: NSO Survey, 2000Comelec, April 2004

Location and boundariesHemmed in the towering mountain ranges of the Ilocoson the west and the Cordillera in the east, the Province ofAbra occupies the western portion of the Cordillera re-gion. Abra is bounded on the north by the Provinces ofIlocos Norte and Apayao, on the east by the Province of

Kalinga, on the west by Province of Ilocos Sur and on thesouth by Mountain Province.

It has an extremely rugged terrain with mountains andhills along the periphery and in the interior of the prov-ince.

The Province has an elevation varying from 5 meters to alittle over 2,000 meters above sea level.

Labor and employment indicatorsTotal population 15 years and over (April 2003) —142,000

Labor force participation rate (April 2003) — 65.8%

Unemployment rate (April 2003) — 8.2%

Visible underemployment rate (April 2003) — 6.1%

Source: NSCB-CAR, April 2003

Income indicatorsAverage annual family income (2000) — P111,185

Average annual family expenditure (2000) — P89,183

Annual per capita poverty threshold (2002) — P13,908

Incidence of poor families (proportion of poor families tothe total number of families as of 2000) — 48.8%

Source: Department of Interior and Local Government — CAR, 2004

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general profile: benguet

Facts and figuresCapital — La Trinidad

Population — 330,129

Percentage to the region’s population — 24.2%

Land area (square km) — 2,655.4

Population density (person per sq.km) — 124

Number of municipalities — 13

Number of barangays — 140

Number of voting precincts — 834

Number of registered voters — 164,016

Number of congressional district — 1

Income class — 2nd class

IRA (2004) — 271,198,646

Legal basis of creation — Act 2711

Date of creation — 03-10-1917

Source: NSO Survey, 2000Comelec, April 2004

Location and boundariesLocated on the southernmost part of the region, boundedby the province of Pangasinan on the south, La Union

and Ilocos Sur on the west, Mt. Province on the north, andIfugao and Nueva Vizcaya on the east.

Benguet, generally, is a mountainous area. Rising thou-sands of feet above sea level is the second highest moun-tain in the Philippines, Mt. Pulag, and a few feet lowerthan Mt. Apo.

It has a rugged and sloping terrain, deep valleys, and fourmajor rivers which drain into the China Sea.

Labor and employment indicatorsTotal population 15 years and over (April 2003) —230,000

Labor force participation rate (April 2003) — 69%

Unemployment rate (April 2003) — 10.7%

Visible underemployment rate (April 2003) — 4.6%

Source: NSCB-CAR, April 2003

Income indicatorsAverage annual family income (2000) — P139,918

Average annual family expenditure (2000) — P117,354

Annual per capita poverty threshold (2002) — P13,725

Incidence of poor families (proportion of poor families tothe total number of families as of 2000) — 14.1%

Source: NSCB-CAR, April 2003

Source: Department of Interior and Local Government — CAR, 2004

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general profile: ilocos sur

Brief HistoryBefore the coming of the Spaniards, the coastal plains inthe northwestern extremity of Luzon, stretching fromBangui in the north to Namapcpacan (Luna, La Union) insouth, were as a whole known as a progressive region richin gold. This hemmed in between the China Sea on thewest and Northern Cordilleras on the east, was isolatedfrom the rest of Luzon. The inhabitants built their vil-lages near the small bays and coves called “looc” in theirdialect. The inhabitants were referred to as “Ylokos” whichmeans “from the lowlands”. The entire region was thencalled by the ancient name “Samtoy” from “sao ditoy”which in Ylocano meant “out dialect”. The region waslater called by the Spaniards “Ylokos” and its people,“Ilocanos”.

The abusive practices of the colonizers are chronicled inthe famous Malong’s Revolt (1660-1661), Diego andGabriela Silang’s Uprising (1762-1763), the Basi Revolt(1807), the Ilocos Revolt (1815) and the Candon Revolu-tion in 1989.

The Ilocos Province comprised the present provinces ofIlocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Abra and a part of Moun-tain Province. The capital is Ciudad Fernandina, now Cityof Vigan. Several laws were passed giving birth to newprovinces. In 1616, Pangasinan was created, thus parts

of the province were annexed to it.

Legal Basis of Creation/ Date of ApprovalA royal decree on February 2, 1818 divided Ilocos Norteand Ilocos Sur, and in March 1917 the Philippine Legisla-tors passed ACT 2683 defining the present geographicalboundary of the province: Taguidin to its south; Quirinoand Cervantes to its east; Sinair to its north. The wholeAbra was separated to form another province.

OthersCapital: City of Vigan

Land Area: 2,579.60 sq.km.

Boundaries: Ilocos Sur is located along the western coast ofNorthern Luzon. It is bounded by Ilocos Norte in the north,Abra in the northeast, Mountain Province in the east,Benguet in the southeast, La Union in the south and theChina Sea in the west.

Population: 545,385

Registered voters: 291,161 (as of April 12, 2001)

Major Dialect/s: Iloco

Source: Department of Interior and Local Government-Region I, 2004 ww





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general profile: mountain province

Facts and figuresCapital — Bontoc

Population — 140,631

Percentage to the region’s population — 10.3%

Land area (square km) — 2,097.3

Population density (person per sq.km) — 67

Number of municipalities — 10

Number of barangays — 144

Number of voting precincts — 418

Number of registered voters — 81,396

Number of congressional district — 1

Income class — 4th class

IRA (2004) — 207,567,750

Legal basis of creation — RA 4695

Date of creation — 06-18-1966

Source: NSO Survey, 2000Comelec, April 2004

Location and boundariesMt. Province is situated in Central Cordillera, bounded onthe east by the province of Isabela, on the west by theprovince of Ilocos Sur, on the north by the province ofKalinga, and on the souh by the province of Ifugao. Onthe northwest is the province of Abra and southwest is theprovince of Benguet.

The province is mountainous, characterized by very steepslopes and deep ravines. Towering peaks and sharp ridgesare features of its center and western parts and slopingand rolling foothills characterized its eastern towns.

Labor and employment indicatorsTotal population 15 years and over (April 2003) — 91,000

Labor force participation rate (April 2003) — 89.4%

Unemployment rate (April 2003) — 1.9%

Visible underemployment rate (April 2003) — 4.3%

Source: NSCB-CAR, April 2003

Income indicatorsAverage annual family income (2000) — P98,369

Average annual family expenditure (2000) — P74,292

Annual per capita poverty threshold (2002) — P14,898

Incidence of poor families (proportion of poor families tothe total number of families as of 2000) — 49%

Source: Department of Interior and Local Government — CAR, 2004

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photo creditswww.nscb.gov.ph




Community Health Services and Training in the Cordil-lera Region (CHESTCORE)

Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)

M.L.I. Ingel

Northern Dispatch Weekly

Roland Romero

Save the Abra River Movement

Mural - University of the Philippines - Paggawisan TakoAm-in (UP - PAGTA)

Alyansa Dagiti Pesante iti Taeng-Kordilyera(APIT-TAKO)

Carlos Francisco

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environment watch: karayan abra

Water is a GIFT...Water comes down as rain from heaven,Water flows from high in the mountain,Water runs deep in the Earth in underground aquifers,Water flows in the rivers and gurgles in the streams,Water roars in the mighty oceans.

Miraculously, water comes to us, and sustains life.We cannot commercialize water.

Water is LIFE...Water is the womb of life.The first one-celled prokaryotes sprung from the ocean,Water surrounded me in my mother’s womb before I saw the sun,Water has the power to ease the burning thirst of humans and all beings,Water give life to the seed and future harvest.

Water is SACRED...Water passed over my head at baptism - the symbol of my birth in Christ,Water is mingled with wine - our humanity becomes one with Divinity.

Water is DYING...As mine tailings are dumped in its flowing streams,As toxic wastes make our oceans underwater cemeteries devoid of color and life,As mangrove swamps and coral reefs are blasted by dynamites,As Corporate greed poison its pristine freshness.

Let us restore to life our dying water.

The CALL of WATER is to SACREDNESS...Clear and pristine waters tell the story of events and memories of Life of people.Its intricate pathways bind all creatures together in a mutually enhancingEarth-human relationshipWater flows through us, through the earth, then on to the Ocean of Life whereWe unite efforts to conserve, heal, and love our precious resource.

Water flows over these hands -May I use them skillfully to preserve LIFE in our planet.

Sister Margarita Jamias, MM

Maryknoll Sisters


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environment watch: karayan abra

What is the Save the Abra River Movement?

The Save the Abra River Movement (STARM) is a broad-based effort to expose and oppose theenvironmental destruction brought about by corporate mining and other commercial endeavors whichtrample on the rights and livelihood of peasants and indigenous peoples. It is composed of concernedgroups and individuals from different walks of life. It aims to put together the critical mass of condi-tions that would turn the tide for Abra River’s healing and renewal. Our activities have includedEcology Seminars in various universities and churches, community environmental summits, photoexhibits, slide showings, community-based water monitoring and research.

Environment Watch Karayan Abra - Save The Abra River Movement (STARM) - [PDF Document] (2024)
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