Oceana Gold pulls out drilling after barricade

>> Monday, July 4, 2016

Duterte urged: Stop mining operations

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya -- Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. pulled out their drilling operations here  in Camgat, Didipio, Kasibu last week, three days after anti-mining residents barricaded the entrance to the site.
         During the presidential inauguration in Metro Manila on June 30, the residents urged President Duterte to stop the Australian mining giant from destroying their community.
“President Duterte, please stop Oceana Gold. We experienced its negative impacts to our environment, livelihood and health. Please realize your promise that you will stop the operations of destructive mining companies once you are in power),” they said in a statement.
The barangay council and anti-mining residents under Didipio Earth Savers Multi-Purpose Association (Desama) and Samahang Pangkarapatan ng Katutubong Mangagawa at Magsasaka Inc. (Sapakmmi) decided to stop the barricade after OGPI pulled out their equipment in the area stating that the victory of the people is only temporary. 
“We will maintain to be vigilant towards the company’s dirty tactics of sneaking in drilling equipment in the area. Last time, they sneaked in their equipment when the community was busy attending a wedding and a funeral,” said ErenioBobola, chairperson of SAPPAKMI.
According to reports from the residents, immediately after the barricade, OGPI called for a meeting with the barangay to discuss the new amendments of their Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) which is the basis of their entry.
“We already signed a resolution in 2012 that the community will not allow any mining activity in the area. The company did not respect that by asking the approval only from the landowners where the drilling machines were situated,” said Myrna Duyan, a board director of DESAMA.
 “We still need to consolidate the landowners and the barangay council to steady their anti-mining stand and not be co-opted by the company’s offers because even though it is their land, the effects of the operation will affect all of us in the Barangay,” Erenio Bobola, chairperson of Sappakmi updated through a phone interview
Last week, the barricade was visited by incoming Gov. Carlos Padilla who vowed to help the residents stop the drilling and exploration of OGPI.
Padilla, with over a hundred leaders of the AbotPalad organization led by outgoing Gov. Ruth Padilla met with indigenous peoples and residents showing their support against the mining exploration and expansion activities of OceanaGold.
The AbotPalad brought with them logistics and vowed to support the anti-mining groups in their crusade against the mining operations and expansion of OceanaGold in the province.
In August 2014, Didipio residents submitted a petition to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) opposing the expansion of OGPI’s mining operations, but in March 2016, the mine firm was granted an extension of its exploration activities, further expanding its operations until 2021.
Village officials and anti-mining groups have raised sanitary concerns like water seepage from the tailings dam, water pollution, respiratory and other diseases and other environmental issues resulting for the explorations.
Meanwhile, indigenous peoples allied with the Katribu (Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas) urged newly appointed Environment Sec. Gina Lopez to support their collective call to immediately stop mining operations and cancel the permit of Oceana Gold Philippine Inc. (OGPI) in Nueva Vizcaya.
Mining-affected indigenous peoples also urged Lopez to seriously pursue President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to heed the people’s growing demand to end large-scale and destructive mining not only in Mindanao but also throughout the country.
The call was supported by Padilla, saying that Lopez’s bias for the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources will be a big shift for the DENR, which many label as a facilitator of destructive projects.
Padilla said while agriculture is the main industry in Nueva Vizcaya, it also has a high ecotourism potential. However, the province is threatened by large-scale mining projects.

There are two foreign large-scale mining operations in the province – the Australian-Canadian OceanaGold and British FCF Minerals in Runruno, Quezon.


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