Novo Vizcayanos to block Oceana’s renewal
Governor Carlos M. Padilla invited provincial heads of offices particularly from the PIHO, PAO, PPDO and PENARO for a meeting with the The Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK) and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) – Nueva Vizcaya on March 8 at the Ammungan Guesthouse.
NVIK and the NUPL are initiating an international advocacy campaign on Oceanagold dubbed as “SOS – Strengthen Our Solidarity Against Oceana Gold,” which highlights an international legal action that Filipino environmental advocates and people’s lawyers are developing. An immediate concern is the proposed Environmental Investigative Mission to gather and revalidate scientific evidence and people’s rights violations linked to Oceanagold Corporation (OGC).
Rev. Fr. Vic Tiam, ANVIK Chairman of the Board, said, “We have to conduct a fact-finding study and identify the areas of abuses because we are the ones affected and not Oceanagold.” OGC’s agreement with the Philippine Government will be expiring in July 2019 and NVIK fears that OGC will apply for its license renewal.
Padilla cited the difference between the Philippines and El Salvador that fought for a total mining ban in the country. “El Salvador has no experience in mining but succeeded in its advocacy and action, In the Philippines, there are those (some are politicians) who have vested interest in mining. We are not going to a picnic here. We will struggle and might even get some threat. The study is our weapon to stop OGC in renewing agreement with the government. Scientific and legal research is a must which will take time and be very costly. But I hope it will not discourage us,” Governor Padilla said.
“We are facing an issue greater than us. We must work together and unite to realize our goal,” Tiam rejoined.
A task force will be organized to lead in this advocacy to stop the operation of Ocenagold.
Board Member Flodemonte Gerdan, Chairman of the Environment Committee earlier said, “the Sangguniang Panlalawigan vowed to vote against the endorsement of Oceana’s permit. Oceanagold must no longer be allowed to operate as it has shown bad faith against the province. #bg