A benefit concert for landslide victims of Barangay Loacan, Itogon Benguet was held December 6.
BY NORTHERN DISPATCH
Posted by Bulatlat
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (253 kms. North of Manila)– A benefit concert for landslide victims of Barangay Loacan, Itogon was held December 6 at the Cordillera Career Development College Gymnasium.
With the theme “No more tragedies: protect and safeguard our natural habitat,” at least 700 youth, students and young professionals attended the concert, a part of the Survivors, a campaign for the continuous protection of the environment against any kind of destruction specifically government projects such as mining, dam, and logging.
The concert was sponsored by the Progressive Igorots for Social Action-Cordillera (Pigsa-CYC) and the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN), and co-sponsored by the Cordillera Career Development College Student Affairs and the College of Social Work.
Among the artists who performed that night were the Dessert Band, Salidummay-Benguet State University (BSU) and University of the Cordilleras (UC) Chapter.
According to the organizers, the proceeds of the concert will be used for the relief mission and educational field trip or community integration with the victims of the landslide at Loacan, Itogon, Benguet.
Last September 22-23, this year typhoon Nina brought disasters and trauma to the community of Loacan Itogon Benguet. A landslide affected 50 families, causing destruction and lost of properties and livelihood. Sixteen small-scale miners were trapped at the 700 level when the twin tunnels of the Benguet Corporation collapsed, six died.
Chester Mark Tuazon, Pigsa spokesperson and Dessert Band member, said the tragedy was a result of the continuous destruction of the environment particularly the result of the long years of mining operation of the Benguet Corporation, including open pit mining.
“The operation of big mining corporations did not bring development for the Ibaloi Communities, instead a miserable life irony to the propaganda of big mining firms that it will bring development for the people,” Tuazon said. “What for is that development if it will eventually destroy the lives, property, land and the source of living of the indigenous communities?” he lamented.
The Survivors concert served also as a venue in the massive campaign to surface James Balao, one of the founding members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), an active environmental activist and fighter for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera up to the time he was abducted on September 17.
Tuazon said Balao is a role model for the youth of today and he challenged the audience to become environmental advocates.
Benguet Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso, a resident of Itogon, called on the organizers of the Survivors to continue the campaign in the protection of the environment for future generation. He also challenged the youth to strengthen camaraderie in times of disasters like what had happened in Loacan.
The organizers of the concert would be having a relief mission and community integration with the landslide victims of Loacan this December 21. Northern Dispatch/Posted by Bulatlat.com