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Anti-mining groups want OceanaGold’s Didipio mine closed

ANTI-MINING groups on Wednesday renewed the call to stop permanently the operations of OceanaGold Corp.’s Didipio gold mine in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

On July 12, the local government of Kasibu led by Mayor Chito Bumolo issued a closure order to OceanaGold for various violations committed by the company.

These included failure to seek and renew its business permit and barangay clearance; failure to pay local taxes; failure to fulfill its promises set in the memorandum of agreement forged with the local government unit specifically with the village where its mining operation is held; and failure to address the human-rights violations complaint filed against its security personnel.

The company, according to Bumolo, failed to provide employment to Kasibu residents who should be given priority over those from other places.

  At present, only a few locals from Kasibu are employed by the company.

Worse, the mayor said most of the so-called locals employed by the company are not even from Nueva Vizcaya.

Moreover, owing to the human-rights violations allegedly committed by the company’s security guards, OceanaGold needs to pull out its present security personnel and replace them with guards from a new security agency.

One human-rights violation complaint filed against the company’s security guards was the altercation they had leading to the alleged accidental death of a village councilor and a village peace keeper (barangay tanod) sometime in December 2012.

“The company has been operating for only few months, yet we see the vastness of destruction it has done to our land. How much more if we allow them to continue operating? Even the indigenous people who worked, developed and protected those lands were displaced by the mining company. Why do we still allow them to prevail? We lose our rights to use, own and protect our lands,” said Pacita Balinggan, the acting chairman of the Alliance of Multisectoral Group Against Mining in Dupax del Norte.

 “The inability of a big company like OceanaGold to fulfill its promises, to abide with the local government’s policies, and to respect the people’s collective will is more than enough ground to finally end its operation, not to mention the great destruction it will cause not just in Nueva Vizcaya but in the whole region, not just in our time but more so with, the next generation of our children,” said Santos Yonga-an, chairman of the Kasibu Intertribal Response for Ecological Development.

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