BAYOMBONG, NUEVA VIZCAYA – Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) together with its local partners, the Nueva Vizcaya Quirino Waterwatch, Alyansa ng Magsasaka para sa Kalikasan ng Kasibu, and Didipio Earth Savers Movement (DESAMA) declare their rejection of the continued illegal and destructive operations of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).
One hundred local farmers and indigenous peoples from the village of Didipio gathered in front of the OGPI satellite office to dramatize their demand for the immediate closure of the mines; to highlight the expired Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) of OGPI with the Philippine Government.
"Mula pa sa simula ayaw na namin ng mina. Sapat na ang 25 taon ng kanilang pagpapayaman sa pagsira ng kabundukan," said Rolando Pulido, Chairman, DESAMA.
("From the very beginning we did not want mining. 25 years of profiteering from the destruction of the mountains is enough.”)
OGPI has been operating destructively for over 25 years. Their operations have led to the displacement of the local indigenous communities and the detriment of the forests and rivers surrounding Nueva Vizcaya, including the reduced water supply for domestic use of families around the mine.
It started its commercial production as an open-pit mine in 2013. It then transitioned to underground operations in 2016 and has continued to operate even when their contract expired last June 20, 2019. They have also failed to secure a renewal of this contract, giving them no right to continue posing as a threat to the forests and water resources in Nueva Vizcaya.
"It has been proven by international experts that OGPI has had numerous violations against environmental laws and have been non-compliant with their contractual obligations. The President must immediately cancel OGPI's contract and order the stop of its illegal mining operation in Didipio," said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator, ATM.
"The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Mines Geosciences Bureau failed to secure the consent of the indigenous people’s and the social acceptability resolution from the local governments in Kasibu town and the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya," he added. The alliance called on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately cancel the FTAA of OGPI and reject its application for renewal of the mining contract.