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ATM Statement on the Expired Mining Contract of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI)

Source: 
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

Cancel FTAA #1 and stop destructive large-scale mining in Nueva Vizcaya

It was a year ago when the mining contract of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) expired. For all intents and purposes, OGPI should have stopped its destructive mining operations. It has failed to secure an extension or renewal of its FTAA (Financial and/or Technical Assistance Agreement #1), it does not have the support of the local governments of the village, the municipality or the province of Nueva Vizcaya. The local communities have refused its continued operations and set-up people’s barricades to prevent any illegal entry of mining vehicles.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) stands with the strong rejection of the Didpio mines. The FTAA must be immediately cancelled, and the watersheds and prime agricultural lands in the mountains of Nueva Vizcaya must be protected.

We strongly support the positions of the indigenous communities in the area affected by the mining operations. In the middle of this pandemic, the protection of their lands, water, livelihoods and lives should be paramount.

OGPI must be held accountable for its past violations against environmental laws in the Philippines, and even non-compliance with its own contractual obligations. It has yet to respond concretely to the resolution issued by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines last 2011, finding it wanting regarding human rights abuse in its operations.

President Rodrigo Duterte must listen to the pleas and demands of the affected-communities to immediately cancel the FTAA of OGPI and not entertain its renewal of extension.

We challenge the DENR to be true to its mandate of protecting and conserving our environment and natural resources. DENR must stop lawyering for OGPI, and its Mines and Geosciences Bureau must reply accordingly to the issues and complaints lodged against the mining company and its operations.

As we all confront the growing difficulties brought by this COVID19 pandemic, we firmly believe that part of the solution is ensuring that a healthy and resilient environment must be in place to respond to climate change and the new normal.

For the people of Nueva Vizcaya, we have no doubt that their fight against OGPI’s destructive mining is the true path to a sustainable future for them and the Philippines.

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Additional References:

  1. A summary of the laws and regulations that have been violated by Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) are documented in a report by IPS and MiningWatch Canada here: Oceana Gold in the Philippines – Ten Violations that Should Prompt Its Removal
  2. A collection of the positions and demands of the affected communities and the local governments against OGPI can be found here.
  3. The International Solidarity Statement Against the Violent Dispersal in Didipio Mines last April 6, 2020 can be accessed here.
  4. Timeline of events in Didipio Mines since the FTAA expiration presents perspectives of support groups in this standoff: Philippines: Civil society and UN experts call for rights to be respected at Didipio
  5. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines issued a ` in 2011 establishing that OGPI and the Philippine government has failed to protect the rights of affected communities in the mine site.