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MGB and company representatives address the issues and concerns of the local farmers’ group in Brgy. Bato-Bato.

 

To provide a neutral ground to discuss and address various issues and concerns, mining officials and stakeholders held a dialogue regarding loss crop compensation of Palawan-based Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (CMDC) at the Narra Center Point Conference Hall in Narra, Palawan, May 16.

The said undertaking mediated by Narra, Palawan Vice Mayor Crispin Lumba Jr. was attended by Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland de Jesus; Municipal Agriculturist Antonio Gammad; company representatives; farmer-members of the Farmers’ Association of Barangay Bato-Bato in Narra, Palawan; members of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) for CMDC; and other personnel from the local government units.

This issue has reference to the undated position paper of the farmers’ association addressed to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, which was included in the agenda of the First Quarter 2019 Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC) meeting for CMDC on March 21.  

In the said position paper, the local farmers’ group represented by Mr. Jerry Bermudez enumerated some issues and solutions which can only be addressed by the company. This pertains to the conditions under the 2017 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the group and the CMDC management with regard to ensuring that the latter’s operations will not affect their livelihood.

During the dialogue, both parties agreed to the proposal to pay in cash for crop loss for the last cropping of 2017 up to the first cropping of 2018. CMDC officials then assured the farmers’ group that the payment for the said period will be released on June 15, 2019.

Moreover, the company and the association settled that the 2017 MOA will be reviewed or revisited after the release of payment.

Meanwhile, the compensation for loss crop claims for the second cropping of 2018 will be in the form of farm implements and machineries as proposed during the First Quarter 2019 MRFC Meeting in March 2019.

The company also explained that the claims for damages for the first and second cropping of 2018 were not yet validated by the Technical Working Group (TWG).

Based on the 2017 MOA, the said payment will serve as compensation for the lost crops being attributed to the operations of CMDC. This covers the cropping calendar years of 2015 to 2016, and 2017 up to the succeeding years.

According to RD de Jesus, the in-kind form of compensation seeks to further ensure the sustainable development of the host community even beyond the mining company’s mine life.

The body also raised the issue on the difference in farm lot areas, for which it was agreed upon that the compensation shall be proportional to one’s farm property size.

For his part, RD de Jesus encouraged the company to provide clean irrigation water coming from the last series of their siltation ponds, especially during the dry season.  

Furthermore, Vice Mayor Lumba proposed for the MMT to conduct monitoring of the farmlands during the rainy season to validate the veracity of the complainants’ claim of siltation due to the mining operations.

Mr. Gammad also presented MAO’s program of introducing corn as alternative livelihood crop for the local farmers.