Green groups hit Malacañang order for mine re-negotiations; cite recent floodings
December 8, 2020
Didipio mines must not be allowed to re-open to avoid more floods.
Quezon City – Green group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) hit Malacanang today for its reported order to re-negotiate the Didipio mining contract in Nueva Vizcaya province, saying this move by the executive department was ill-advised.
Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM said that Malacanang appears to be “either insensitive or is simply blind to the situation of affected-communities in Northern Luzon”, who are still reeling from the impacts of floods and landslides brought by typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” last month.
“President Duterte himself has said that mining and logging must be stopped to avoid repeating the disasters, but this recent order to start the re-negotiation of the Didipio Mining Project in Kasibu town is completely out of place and directly in conflict with the President’s announcements”, Garganera said. “We demand that Malacanang publicly disclose this order to have clarity”, he added.
“We are also deeply frustrated with the DENR, as they seem to be completely blind to the complaints of mining-affected communities, and this government agency is simply interested to get the claimed economic benefits of mining, while disregarding the ill-effects to the environment and the impacts of climate change”, Garganera concluded.
The DENR-MGB and the corporate website of OceanaGold released their respective statements about the alleged Malacanang order.
Local group Didipio Earth Savers Multi-purpose Association (DESAMA) expressed anger upon hearing the news. “The government doesn’t seem to listen to us”, said Rolando Pulido, DESAMA Chairperson. “We will continue to hold the barricades at the mine gates, to prevent the entry of mine supplies and equipment, because they are not welcome here!”, Pulido added.
Also, BILEG woman leader Myrna Duyan said they are saddened and outraged by this development. “We can't believe that the national government is doing this to us. We have lost our lands, our livelihoods and we are victims of floods and landslides. Why is the government still supporting mining that destroy our mountains and lives?”, Duyan asked. She added that they do not accept mining in their area, and that they will continue to fight this illegal mining.
In a related development, Gov. Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya expressed his dismay that this order was issued. He said that he still has to receive a copy of this order, but he finds it misplaced and inconsistent with the earlier pronouncement of Pres. Duterte. He said that he is standing by with his stance not to allow any more mining in the province to protect not only the watershed and agriculture areas, but also the safety and well-being of his constituents.
“In the recent typhoons that hit North Luzon, floods due to mining caused destruction in the Lower Magat area. The mine tailings pond of OGPI overflowed and destroyed a road and some culverts. The main road to Kasibu and Brgy. Didipio was not passable for several days. We cannot risk another set of disasters with the mine operating”, said Padilla.
Meanwhile, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women) said, “The recent series of typhoons that hit the region highlighted the devastating long lasting impacts of large scale mining on food security, and on the lives of the Tuwali women and men. It is not just the illegal mining and logging operations that are problematic, as the government keeps harping on. It is also these mining operations which are given permit to operate for 25 years, like OGPI, and now is poised to be renewed for another 25 years. This is worse than problematic, because they commit these destruction of the environment, and violation of human rights, with impunity. The government should instead compel OGPI to start its rehabilitation program immediately."
On the other, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), said: "The renegotiation of the FTAA is symptomatic of a socio-economic order that privileges big corporate interests, commodifies nature, while trivialising the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology."
For details, you may contact:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator - +63917 549 8218 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rolando Pulido, DESAMA Chairperson – +63936 286 1478
Myrna Duyan, BILEG Chairperson – +63905 665 6432905 665 643205 665 6432
Judy Pasimio, LILAK National Coordinator – +63917 526 8341 / email@example.com
Atty. Ryan Rosset, LRC Coordinator of Direct Legal Service - +63977 133 0512 / firstname.lastname@example.org