Bishop leads people’s congress preparatory meeting

20 July 2020, Bayombong. Bishop Jose Elmer I. Mangalinao of the Diocese of Bayombong covering the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino led the day’s People’s Congress Preparatory Meeting held at the Nueva Vizcaya Livelihood and Pasalubong Center in Brgy. Magsaysay…

Provincial Legal Officer Voltaire B. Garcia, representing Governor Carlos M. Padilla, apprised the body of the recent developments and thrusts of the Provincial Government, focusing on the chronology of events and its interventions leading to the province’s recent victory over Oceanagold at the Court of Appeals…

He assured the body that he’ll be bringing to the attention of Governor Padilla all the issues and concerns raised in the forum… “Let us all realize and bear in mind Governor Padilla’s steadfast stand against Oceanagold whose FTAA or mining contract has already expired over a year ago and his unwavering support to our own people.”, he declared…

A leader of the United Peoples of Kasibu rose to relay the general sentiments of her fellow residents who have been widely clamoring for the dismantling of Oceanagold in their community, lamenting as well the present militarization of their place given the presence of AFP contingents within their vicinity…

“More than any time in the past, especially now that the Anti-terror Law has already been passed, we are much worried about our being red-tagged, yet we are only being vocal about our opposition to the pernicious large-scale mining operations that had been haunting our villages.”, she anxiously added.

An alarmed ANVIK leader emphasized Oceanagold’s alleged continuing mining operations instead of pursuing mandatory mine rehabilitation activities following the expiration of its FTAA, as the villagers had been hearing blowing of sirens at the mine site, which usually signify ongoing ground blasting…

A disappointed ANVIK leader also raised the “alleged treasonous and ironic behavior of the regional office of the MGB-DENR, which according to her is obviously favoring the interests of the foreign mining company at the expense of the local communities.”

“It is puzzling to our minds that most of our leaders had been vigorous in expediting the disposition of the case of our local ABS-CBN news outfit, but sitting idly on the quite similar plea for non-renewal of the FTAA of Oceanagold, a foreign mining company… We should not be complacent, since we are aware of how this kind of foreign company, along with its allies who are close to the President, work.”, she added.

In response, PLO Garcia reiterated that “Oceanagold’s authorized transitory activities following the expiration of its FTAA are limited solely to “dewatering” operations”.

“We understand the situation that is why, as much as possible, the Provincial Government is directing its efforts directly to the national offices of concerned government agencies, including the Office of the President.”, he added.

The succeeding resource persons from the agriculture, youth, religious and government sectors were also one in condemning the observed adverse impacts of the destructive operations of the mining company, particularly on the natural environment’s flora and fauna, and community well-being and relations…

Interestingly, but sad to think about, was the statement of the youth leader appealing to and touching on the conscience of our elders and leaders as he stressed, “We would not like to inherit the wrong choices of our parents.”

In closing, the participants were in unison in firmly declaring, “Tama na!… Sobra na!… Pres. Duterte Ibasura ang FTAA Renewal ng Oceanagold!… Ipagtanggol ang Pambansang Patrimonya!… Rehabilitasyon Para sa Didipio!… Bayad Pinsala Para sa Komunidad!… Benepisyo at Separation Pay Para sa Mga Manggagawa, Ibigay!#jlc

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