Our Town: Mankayan, Benguet

One would think that Mankayan, home of Lepanto Mines, would have better roads than the rest of the Cordilleras. But, no, this is what we’ve got — an unpaved road and sinking homes. According to Baguiocity.com the houses we see in the picture used to be at the same level as the road but they have now sank. Residents blame all that tunneling by Lepanto to get at the gold.

But where did all the gold go? The bulk of it went to the pockets of American and Makati-based stock holders, a teeny bit was given to the government in the form of taxes, and a teeny weeny bit was paid to our kailiyans who worked in the mines.

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Kasibu: A PCIJ Video Documentary


Over the past week, newspapers reported about the volatile situation in Kasibu, Nueva Vixcaya where some of our kailiyans are fighting to prevent the continued exploration of an Australian mining firm in their community. Details at the following links: Scores hurt as residents, militiamen clash at mine site; Aussie firm told to stop exploration; and Bishop steps in as Vizcaya mining row gets violent.

Although things have calmed down a bit, the situation remains volatile. If the mining company pursues its plan to build a mine in the area, there is the danger that succeeding news reports from Kasibu will not only be about clashes but about deaths and bloodshed.

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Baguio-La Trinidad’s Tragedy of the Commons

The tragedy occurs when limited natural resources get depleted because individuals use them for their private interests and without regard for the common good. More about “tragedy of the commons” here.

The above image shows the situation of the Busol watershed. According to Art Tibaldo who sent us the photo, “If you are to count the pine and other trees in the map, I’m quite certain that their number is not more than the houses in Aurora Hill, Bayan Park, Marcoville and Trancoville combined.”

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On the Uglification of Baguio

One of the slogan’s during the past elections that I like is Jack CariƱo’s “Stop the Uglification of Baguio” (we first blogged about Jack here and he has a blog here). I guess I like the slogan because it aptly captures what is happening to the city (its uglification) and provides an answer, i.e., to stop it.

Anyway, as we usually do in this blog, we are uploading comments (in different blog entries) regarding this issue. We do not necessarily agree with the commenters but they bring up important points which are worth mulling over. Here’s one comment from Betelnut:

Betelnut on the uglification of Baguio:
When will these people understand that Baguio is only for 25,000 people yet they want “housing” for the squatters here. To think of it that even before the world war two, Baguio has already reached its maximum capacity. That’s why when more squatters were tolerated, their numbers grew even more because “deforestation” in favor of “free lands” were very favorable to them. Not only that these squatters too are depriving the indigenous people of Baguio their right to ancestral lands… it’s not just the government and the capitalists, these squatters have their share too..especially those who came from other Cordi places. May lupa naman sila dun, bakit nakikisiksik sila dito? Why don’t they just CREATE opportunities for them? Cebu is a good example of a province that rose on their own..without help from Imperial Manila or even the National Government.

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