Closed, suspended mines in Zambales and Nueva Vizcaya still operating with impunity

 

PRESS RELEASE

02 March 2017                                     

 

Closed, suspended mines in Zambales and Nueva Vizcaya still operating with impunity

 

MAKATI CITY—Local mining-affected communities from the provinces of Zambales and Nueva Vizcaya stormed the central offices of large-scale mining companies that continue to defy the mine closure and suspension orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

 

“The closure and suspension of big mining companies remain standing and in force, but these notorious offenders are still operating with impunity. These corporations should be penalized for stonewalling against the government’s regulations and prolonging the suffering of affected communities,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

 

The Movement for the Protection of the Environment in Zambales (MOVE Now! Zambales) led the action outside the office of Benguet Corporation, one of four large-scale nickel mines closed down in the province. The alliance raised alarm over the imminent shipping out of raw ore stockpiles from the mine sites despite their supposed closed status.

 

According to Cristeta Sison, a peasant woman leader and spokesperson of MOVE Now! Zambales, said “the big mines are trying to justify their last-ditch effort to plunder their stockpiles by posing it as a supposed rehabilitation measure. They should be paying for the burgeoning damages that our farmlands and fisheries have sustained through the years and not get a single cent out of our mineral wealth anymore.”

 

“If anything, the government should confiscate these stockpiles and ensure that its value will be used for the restoration of our agricultural lands, rivers, and seas,” Sison declared.

 

Indigenous Ifugao under the Samahang Pang Karapatan ng Katutubong Magsasaka at Manggagawa (SAPAKKMMI) and the Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Novo Vizcayano para sa Inang Kalikasan (ANNVIK) from Nueva Vizcaya meanwhile led the protest at the office of Australian-Canadian transnational mining corporation OceanaGold to demand their compliance to the suspension of their operations of the gold-and-copper mine.

 

“OceanaGold should be reinvestigated for its continued defiance of the mining suspension order of the DENR and business-as-usual operations that continue to pollute our environment and displace our livelihood,” said Councilor Celia Bahag, a board member of SAPAKKMMI.

 

“Just recently, local state forces have heightened their harassment of our leaders to intimidate us from persisting with our opposition. This seems to be part of a recent wave of human rights violations against environment defenders to quell the resistance to environmentally destructive projects such as OceanaGold’s Didipio mine,” Bahag furthered.

 

Dulce said their groups are exploring actions to be taken to help uphold the DENR’s decision to suspend these mines, including possible legal or legislative interventions to help hasten the process.

 

“An important step forward is to hasten the passage of House Bill 2715 or the People’s Mining Bill. This will remove the various legal impediments that big miners like Benguet Corporation and OceanaGold are exploiting to continue plundering our mineralized lands,” ended Dulce

PRESS RELEASE

02 March 2017                                     

 

Closed, suspended mines in Zambales and Nueva Vizcaya still operating with impunity

 

MAKATI CITY—Local mining-affected communities from the provinces of Zambales and Nueva Vizcaya stormed the central offices of large-scale mining companies that continue to defy the mine closure and suspension orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

 

“The closure and suspension of big mining companies remain standing and in force, but these notorious offenders are still operating with impunity. These corporations should be penalized for stonewalling against the government’s regulations and prolonging the suffering of affected communities,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

 

The Movement for the Protection of the Environment in Zambales (MOVE Now! Zambales) led the action outside the office of Benguet Corporation, one of four large-scale nickel mines closed down in the province. The alliance raised alarm over the imminent shipping out of raw ore stockpiles from the mine sites despite their supposed closed status.

 

According to Cristeta Sison, a peasant woman leader and spokesperson of MOVE Now! Zambales, said “the big mines are trying to justify their last-ditch effort to plunder their stockpiles by posing it as a supposed rehabilitation measure. They should be paying for the burgeoning damages that our farmlands and fisheries have sustained through the years and not get a single cent out of our mineral wealth anymore.”

 

“If anything, the government should confiscate these stockpiles and ensure that its value will be used for the restoration of our agricultural lands, rivers, and seas,” Sison declared.

 

Indigenous Ifugao under the Samahang Pang Karapatan ng Katutubong Magsasaka at Manggagawa (SAPAKKMMI) and the Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Novo Vizcayano para sa Inang Kalikasan (ANNVIK) from Nueva Vizcaya meanwhile led the protest at the office of Australian-Canadian transnational mining corporation OceanaGold to demand their compliance to the suspension of their operations of the gold-and-copper mine.

 

“OceanaGold should be reinvestigated for its continued defiance of the mining suspension order of the DENR and business-as-usual operations that continue to pollute our environment and displace our livelihood,” said Councilor Celia Bahag, a board member of SAPAKKMMI.

 

“Just recently, local state forces have heightened their harassment of our leaders to intimidate us from persisting with our opposition. This seems to be part of a recent wave of human rights violations against environment defenders to quell the resistance to environmentally destructive projects such as OceanaGold’s Didipio mine,” Bahag furthered.

 

Dulce said their groups are exploring actions to be taken to help uphold the DENR’s decision to suspend these mines, including possible legal or legislative interventions to help hasten the process.

 

“An important step forward is to hasten the passage of House Bill 2715 or the People’s Mining Bill. This will remove the various legal impediments that big miners like Benguet Corporation and OceanaGold are exploiting to continue plundering our mineralized lands,” ended Dulce