Local firms told to pay royalites
Maria Elena Catajan Sun*Star Reporter
SunStar Publishing Inc.
AS THE year ends, concerns of Indigenous Peoples groups maybe heard come 2021. National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera Administrative Region ( NCIP – CAR) issued show cause orders for companies in a bid to investigate allegations of irregularities filed by Indigenous Peoples groups in the region. The orders were issued to mining companies Benguet Corporation, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation, and Itogon Suyoc Resources, Inc., a subsidiary of the Davaobased Apex Mining Company, Inc., as well as hydro firms San Roque Power Corporation for San Roque Dam, Aboitiz Power Corporation for both Ambuclao and Binga Dam, and Hedcor on December 22 by NCIP regional director Marlon Bosantog due to non-payment royalties to host IP communities. The NCIP said in the orders that it has come to their attention that the Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples in the ancestral domain where the companies operate have not received royalties. Bosantog cited Section 7 of Republic Act 8371 known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act ( IPRA) of 1997 which recognizes, protects and promotes, among others, the rights of ICCs/IPs to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of natural resources found their Ancestral Domain, and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the operations. The NCIP orders gives all companies 15 days to respond and show cause why it shall be held liable in violation of IPRA.