About 1,000 ethnic Phnong villagers in Mondulkiri province on Friday ended a long-running dispute with authorities, finally acceeding to a plan to develop the Phnom Dos Kromom mountain area, where they have long prayed.
Kreu Tota, a representative for the Phnong, said villagers from the province’s five districts met with authorities, and consensus had been reached to develop the area as a cultural state site.
“We agree not to stop the state’s development because . . . we believe that their development will preserve our traditions,” he said. “We will have our place to pray and to attract tourism, and everyone will [learn] about our traditions when they come to visit Mondulkiri.”
Srey Toch, director of the provincial cultural department, said the department will suggest building a museum and a temple in the area.
“Authorities will come to measure the area again for the plans to build a museum to maintain ethnic traditions,” he said, adding that they hope to make the area an eco-tourism site.
Sok Rotha, Adhoc coordinator in Mondulkiri, said villagers had protested the development of the area for the past five years.