Nueva Vizcaya guv submits formal complaint vs. mining firm to DENR

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Governor Carlos Padilla has formally submitted the complaint of mining-affected villagers and anti-mining groups in the province in a bid to block the exploration expansion of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc.(OGPI) to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

OGPI is currently conducting expansion of its exploration for gold-copper deposits in barangay Didipio in Kasibu town after it earned a permit early this year from the Aquino administration.

In the complaint, Padilla has called on the withdrawal and suspension of OGPI’s exploration permit which he added was considered a ‘midnight deal’.

He said Nueva Vizcaya is a critical watershed of major dams such as the Magat, San Roque, Pantabangan, Casecnan and Ambuklao dams which irrigate thousands of agricultural lands in Cagayan Valley and Region 3 aside from the power they generate.

“We are a watershed haven and we promote the development of our province as an agroforestry area and eco-tourism because of its rich and fertile soil, semi-temperate climate and its natural wonders,” Padilla said.

He added that within the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement(FTAA) of OGPI lies the Capissaan Cave system, considered as the fourth longest cave system in the country including the vast plantations of citrus and high value crops among indigenous people.

Padilla said most of the communities covered by the on-going exploration are opposing such activity through the establishment of barricades by anti-mining groups and villagers.

“They oppose mining because it would disrupt their way of life, destroy the environment and source of income, it will provide suffering, social divisiveness and negative peace and order condition,”he said.

Padilla also said that the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan(PDPFP) and Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) did not prioritize mining as the province is prone to major disaster and is a priority key biodiversity conservation research area being part of the Caraballo-Palali Mountain Ranges.

“Mining will only provide suffering to the people and it must not be destructive to the environment as exemplified by the open pit at OGPI’s mining area,” he said. PNA/