Environmental groups condemn OceanaGold’s “act of intimidation” against barangay officials
ATM Press Statement | August 18, 2022
Alyansa Tigil Mina, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), and The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) condemned the “act of intimidation” of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) President Atty. Joan Adaci-Cattiling, who threatened to take away funds from the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) if Barangay Officials from Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya do not sign a resolution revoking an earlier Barangay Resolution opposing the extension of OGPI’s mining permit for another 25 years.
“OGPI is acting like a bully. The alleged threat of Atty. Cattiling, that of the withdrawal of SDMP, which is a legal obligation of OGPI, is deemed an act of intimidation, “ said Judy Pasimio, National Coordinator of LILAK. “OGPI has once again shown what a thug of a corporation it is.”
“The abhorrent behavior of Atty. Cattiling is unbecoming of a lawyer and President of OGPI,” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM. “She outrightly deceived the barangay officials about the SDMP funds, knowing fully well that OGPI cannot take away or withhold the SDMP funds.”
"The SDMP is not charity, it is an obligation on the part of the OGPI. It is meant to augment needs of the community, enabling it to be self-reliant. It bears remembering that OGPI is operating based on a questionable renewal agreement,” said Atty. Ryan Roset of the LRC-FoE PH.
According to local groups DESAMA and BILEG Dagiti Babbae, Atty. Cattiling got angry in an August 1 meeting about Sangguniang Barangay Resolution 38 opposing the extension of OGPI’s permit. She told barangay officials that the SDMP funds would be taken away if they do not sign the resolution revoking SB Resolution 38. This caused the Barangay Council members to sign the revocation resolution as they feared that the SDMP funds would be withheld. The SDMP funds subsidies for teachers, barangay employees, scholarships and other projects
“It is clear that OGPI has no respect for the will of the residents and barangay leaders of Didipio. They resorted to surreptitious and intimidating acts in an attempt to bend the will of the residents,” said Garganera.
ATM, LILAK, and LRC threw their support behind DESAMA and BILEG, who have been firmly opposing mining in the area. “We laud these organizations for their vigilance and their refusal to be swayed by the dirty tactics of OGPI. We will continue to support them and fight alongside them in their opposition to the extension of OGPI’s mining permit,” said Garganera. #RepealMiningAct
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