Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya—FCF Minerals Corporation fully supports the government’s efforts to relocate the illegal settlers of barangay Runruno in this town.
James Carmichael, FCF Minerals Country Manager, said the company has been doing settlement actions on the properties of villagers and illegal settlers in sitios Bit-ang and Compound, which were tagged by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as high risk geo-hazard areas.
“We have been giving fair compensation for the villagers’ properties and developments in the area to enable them to leave and relocate somewhere else. Others agreed and others want unreasonable amounts and others stayed put due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Carmichael said with the continuing property negotiations and settlements among the villagers and illegal settlers in the areas, 245 families or individuals left, causing the company to spend P57.8 million.
He said more than 100 individuals and families are yet to be settled by the company within the geohazard zones.
Carmichael also denied the accusation of the small-scale miners present in the area, since the company only did stabilization works along the access roads they previously built.
“We can see that landslides did not start from where we made the access road. It happened below the 45-dgree slope where the illegal settlers built their shanties,” he added.
The country manager also said the silty slope of the mountain which was once teeming with trees has been flattened by the illegal settlers to pave the way for their agriculture activities.
He said that every aspect of their operation is with prior approval of the regulatory bodies such as the MGB to ensure that it complies with all regulations pertaining to safety, environment, and community relations.
“FCF works hand in hand with our local communities for their long-term benefits. The critical risk geohazard zone is pre-existing and not one of FCF’s making,” Carmichael said.
The company also bared the findings of the composite investigation team of government agencies and local officials in March 2019.
The investigation was in response to the complaint of small-scale miners in the area.
It said that sitio Bit-ang in barangay Runruno is proliferated by illegal small scale miners within the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FATAA) contract area of the mining company, the tunnels and ball mills of the illegal smalls scale miners were demolished in 2014 during the operation of the team composed of NBI, DENR-MGB, PENRO, PNP, and LGU but the small scale miners returned to the area and resumed their operations.
It also showed that in September 208, MGB conducted geohazard assessment and the result showed that Sitio Bit-ang is highly susceptible to hazard being extremely critical to flooding and landslide and recommended the relocation of the residents.
It also added that regardless of the blasting activity of the FCF Minerals Corporation, the area is highly or critically susceptible to natural hazards.