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Hunter-gatherers and extractive industries in the Northeastern Philippines
There is increasing international recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to influence development activities in their territories. Free, Prior and Informed Consent is the strongest available instrument to assert this right, and this article provides a case study on its implementation in the northeastern Philippines. Under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, extractive companies must seek consent from indigenous communities if these inhabit the proposed concession areas. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, a government agency, facilitates this process. This article documents how extractive companies have obtained consent from the Agta, a resource-dependent indigenous group. The results, which cover the period 2003–2011, show that the implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent fails in terms of the process and its outcome. Consent is manipulated, the role of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as facilitator is problematic, and the agreements are culturally inappropriate, weakly operationalized, and poorly realized.