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Didipio residents want Oceana Gold Permanently closed

News Release

September 30, 2016

 

NL Green Groups laud DENR suspension of OceanaGold, Didipio wants Company Permanently Closed

didipio-protest-file-photo

File photo of Didipio residents demanding that Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. leave their village. Photo credit:: SAPAKKMMI

Green groups covering Nueva Vizcaya rejoiced in the DENR recommendation for suspension of Oceana Gold Philippines Incorporated (OGPI) last week. After over two decades of battle against mining in Didipio, the anti-mining community saw a silver lining in their struggle against a giant company plundering their resources.

Amianan Salakniban, the northern Luzon environment and human rights network, Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Novo Vizcayanos para sa Kalikasan (ANNVIK), and Samahang Pangkarapatanng mga Katutubong Magsasaka at Mangagawa Inc. (SAPAKKMMI ) are grateful with the decision and calls for the DENR to proceed in permanently closing OGPI’s operation.

“During the audit, we were very disappointed because the team seems biased on the side of the company. But when this good news arrived, all of us rejoiced in the barangay,” Celia Bahag, a barangay councilor and board member of SAPAKKMI said. “We have been fighting mining in our community for so long. We now see a glimpse of hope that our environment and our livelihoods have a chance to be saved.”

A few days after the announcement, OGPI immediately released a statement defending their company from the DENR. They bragged their awards to prove their operations were adhering to international environmental and sustainability standards. Even the Australian Embassy posted “world class miner: hash tags about the company to boosts its company propaganda

“They say they are responsible miner according to whoever. But for us who suffer from the destruction they brought to our community, these awards mean nothing,” Erenio Bobola, a board member of SAPAKKMI said. “To those who gave them the awards, we challenge them to drink the water from the rivers Oceana Gold polluted. We encourage them to live with us and experience the heart pounding blastings that we suffer from everyday. Then they decide whether this Oceana Gold is responsible or not.”

Despite this positive government pronouncement, residents still call for the immediate stoppage of OGPI’s operations. They vow to continue their protests actions until the suspension will be implemented and the cancellation of the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the Government is quashed.

“We will still continue our actions, we will still file charges, we still call for them to rehabilitate our land and fulfill their promises in the memorandum of agreement with the community. It is their responsibility since they got massive profit from our land,” Bahag said.

It was earlier reported that Oceana Gold bagged $39.7-million profit in just the first half of the year.

Aside from the DENR’s exemption of Philex mines, Amianan Salakniban commends the DENR for the suspension of several mines in North Luzon especially Lepanto and Oceana Gold.

 “We hope that these suspensions will proceed to the cancellation of their permits and their total stoppage. As long as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is still in place, these companies will make their way using the law to return back to their previous operations which are destructive and anti-people, especially indigenous peoples, “ Fernando Mangili , spokesperson of Amianan Salakniban said.

“The PMA 1995 should be repealed and replaced with the pro-people and pro-environment Peoples’ Mining Bill already filed in congress by various peoples organizations and progressive politicians,” Mangili added.

Under the PMB, the mining industry will be reoriented from being profit oriented and insufficiently regulated towards an orientation based on people’s needs, environmental safety, and genuine national industrialization and development.

 

 

For Inquiries contact;

 

Mr. Fernando Mangili

Co-Convenor/ Spokesperson

Amianan Salakniban

09174676337