Didipio, Kasibu – Representatives from various sectors gathered to show support to the ongoing barricade against the continued operations of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI). Farmers, local government officials, church leaders and development workers held a program at the barricade site to express their apprehension on the destructive impacts of the mining operations, and to reiterate the call to stop Oceana Gold’s illegal mining operations.
OGPI’s Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) has expired on June 20, 2019, and the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mining Geosciences Bureau have endorsed the renewal of the FTAA. This, despite the various documentations and studies that point to the negative environmental and social impact of the large-scale mining operations in Didipio and neighbouring barangays. In 2016, then DENR Sec. Gina Lopez has ordered the suspension of OceanaGold’s operations after a mining audit that exposed the various violations of the mining giant.
“We in MASIPAG are in solidarity with the people and community of Didipio in this fight to protect our environment and biodiversity,” said Cris Panerio, National Coordinator of MASIPAG. “The continued and illegal operation of OceanGold that destroys our source of food, livelihood and even culture is an obvious violation to our rights and thus, must be stopped.”
“Nueva Vizcaya as among the most prolific agricultural provinces rely on nature and environment which we must take care of,” said Gov. Carlos Padilla. “The bounty from our environment should be enjoyed by everyone, and not just the few rich corporations who exploit our natural resources.”
“We should not destroy our environment to achieve development,” said Bishop Jose Elmer Mangalinao of the Diocese of Bayombong. Bishop Mangalinao likewise applaud the brave and united efforts of the communities and the people in resisting OceanaGold’s operations. “We should continue to fight not only for our sake, but also for the future generations.”
Farmer and community leaders likewise expressed their dismay towards the mining company, but also remain hopeful and resilient, thanks to the support and solidarity from different sectors and organizations. #