We, the UK-based Campaign on Human Rights in the Philippines send our greetings of solidarity to those communities in resistance to OceanaGold’s Didipio mine from the United Kingdom, as you protest against destructive and irresponsible mining in Nueva Vizcaya.
We express our support for your calls to immediately cancel Oceana Gold Philippines (OGPI)’s Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) contract and order the stop of illegal mining operations of OGPI. We note the FTAA expired on 20 June 2019, and so far OGPI have failed to secure a renewal of this agreement. We accept the petition submitted by Didipio-Watch to the Office of the President last 13 March 2019, citing the evidences on why the mining contract should not be renewed. We call on President Duterte, given his previous critical statements of open-pit mining and not to renew the contract.
We recognise that a 2017 community health diagnosis by the IBON Foundation found that 80% of Barangay Didipio, the mine’s host village, have complained of clean water access problems amid Oceanagold’s depletion and pollution of rivers.Also a 2018 investigative report by the Institute for Policy Studies and MiningWatch Canada revealed that Oceanagold figured in ten violations of national laws and FTAA contract provisions relating to environmental, land, labour, and indigenous people’s rights
We agree that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must immediately revoke its positive endorsement for the application of FTAA renewal. DENR has failed to ensure that precautionary principles are enforced in the review and assessment of the mining contract, and has merely relied on technical compliance of OGPI in submitting its application for renewal. The DENR must demand a new and updated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from OGPI and issue a new Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as part of the requirement for the renewal of the FTAA
We respect and recognize the authority of local governments affected by mining operations of OGPI. All three local governments impacted by OGPI’s operations have expressed their opposition, and this is a truthful reflection of the will of the people.
We understand that on 21 June 2019, local villagers from Didipio, in Kasibu town, Nueva Vizcaya set-up a peoples barricade to prevent the illegal operations of the mine after the license expired. We stand with you in your struggle to assert your rights to a health lives and livelihoods.
Yours in solidarity,
Members of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines