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.
We hope to monitor the story in future posts. In the meantime, here’s a documentary by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) about the various indigenous peoples in Kasibu.
The area was originally populated by the Bugkalots. However, migrants from Benguet who were displaced because of big projects like the Ambuklao dam settled in the town. Ifugao woodcarvers also settled in the area. Most of the Bugkalots moved deeper into the mountains but some inter-married with the new arrivals.
Well, we’re not gonna tell it all since you are going to watch the video anyway. It provides a good background information on what’s happening in Kasibu these days.
UPDATE: Chyt has more info on what’s happening in Kasibu and a poem on how authorities refuse to see indigenous peoples and thus make us invisible. Read it here.
VIDEO CREDIT: PCIJ/ShavedAsian.