Padilla order a stop to mining operation
Didipio residents witnessed Governor Carlos M. Padilla sign an order for the OceanaGold Philippines (OGPI) on June 26 to stop its operation at the Didipio Mine since its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) expired on June 20, 2019.
OceanaGold had been operating in the province for the last 25 years and there are reasons why one would be pro or anti in the operation of mining in the province.
“But in the relationship with one another, whether you are pro or anti, one cannot deny that the operation of the mining company in the province had caused division amongst the people of the province. Family members, neighbors and friends argue or do not talk to each other because of the differences in its opinion in the operation of mining in the province,” Padilla said.
“As your Governor, whether you are pro or anti, I would like you to be peaceful, happy and united. Didipio or Nueva Vizcaya is a peaceful place. It is better if there is no mining in the province so that there will no longer be conflict amongst us,” he said.
Padilla explained that since the FTAA of OceanaGold has expired, the mining firm’s operation is already illegal and may no longer bring out mining products extracted. The letter of the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) to OceanaGold does not give authority to the mining firm to continue its operation. It only states that a memorandum has been forwarded to the Office of the DENR Secretary to allow the mining firm to continue its operation pending the approval of the President of the Philippines.
“MGB has no authority to give OceanaGold the right to operate. It is only the President who has the authority (based on the Constitution of the Philippines),” Padilla said.
Atty. Delbert Galima, the Assistant Provincial Legal Officer, along with Atty. Rhoda Garcia served the order to David Way, General Manager of OGPI, after the dialogue between the provincial government and the resident of Didipio at the Didipio Barangay Hall.
“The provincial government and its lawyers are studying legal actions against OGPI if it continues to operate. Its operation is illegal and it should be stopped,” Padilla reiterated.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), presided by Vice Governor Epifanio LD. Galima Jr., approved a resolution during a special session declaring all mining activities in barangay Didipio illegal. The SP urged Padilla to make all necessary and legal actions to protect the interest of the province. In a separate resolution, the SP also urged municipal officials of Kasibu to cancel the Mayor’s permit of OGPI to operate. #bg