ATM Press Release
February 12, 2020
Quezon City – Various environmental groups yesterday, led by local organizations in Nueva Vizcaya, expressed their strong opposition against the renewal of the mining contract of Ocean Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).
Green group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) supported the call of Didipio Earth Savers Multisectoral Alliance (DESAMA) and demanded the immediate cancellation of Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement No. 001(FTAA # 1) owned by OGPI, after learning about management change in the mining company.
ATM said that the transition of leadership from Joey Leviste to Mick Wilkes should not pave the way for the renewal of the FTAA. They reminded OGPI that management should respect the decision of the local government and the local communities of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, to stop the destructive mining operation in the area.
The province of Nueva Vizcaya passed Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2019-3107 last June 17, 2019, actively opposing the extension of the mining contract.
Governor Carlos Padilla re-stated the position of the province, demanding the termination of the mining contract of OGPI. “This issue created political and social division and increased crime incidence in the region. The mine operations contaminated watershed. Its tailings do not only pollute Didipio but the entire Nueva Vizcaya. What has been destroyed by mining could not be repaired,” he said.
Last September 24, 2019, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) announced the interim renewal of OGPI’s FTAA despite public resistance and clear LGU directives to stop the mines. Environmental groups and local governments from Nueva Vizcaya expressed their disappointment on this endorsement.
“The strong resistance of local communities from Nueva Vizcaya against mining shows the trauma they experienced from the destructive effects to livelihood, land, and water. We must never allow another 25 years' worth of damage to environment and violations to human rights,” according to Michael Emerson Perocho, ATM Site of Struggles Luzon Coordinator.
"Noong simula pa lamang hindi na kami pumayag na magkaroon ng pagmimina dito. Kaya tama lang na itigil na ang kanilang operasyon dito, hindi na dapat at kailanman pumayag ang ating gobyerno sa ganitong klaseng mapanirang industriya" (from the start, we did not accept mining here. So it’s only right that they stop operating, and our government should not anymore allow this kind of destructive mining) said Myrna Duyan, President of BILEG DAGITI BABBAE – DESAMA
Last February 1, 2020, the local communities led a march and program at the peoples barricade and demanded the non-renewal of OGPI’s FTAA. The organizers included – DESAMA, Bileg, United People of Kasibu and Kasibu town Mayor Romeo Tayaban.
ATM called on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to immediately order the cancellation of FTAA # 1 and reiterated their support to the local communities to resist OGPI’s operations. The group also said they will continue to uphold and promote the rights of local communities affected by mining. #
Paul John Nieves Delin
Media and Communications Staff
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)