The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils.) salutes the People’s Barricade of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya on its first year of resistance against mining giant OceanaGold.
With the support of the local government, environmental groups, scientists, professionals, church workers, and advocates, the barricade has successfully suspended OceanaGold’s operation following the expiry of its Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) renewal on June 20 last year.
Within the year of manning the barricade, Didipio residents have faced threats, intimidation, and harassment, as OceanaGold has been insisting its operation to persist. Amid the enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19, OceanaGold forced entry of fuel to its mine last April, and violently dispersed 29 barricaders with the help of the Philippine National Police.
Last January, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources permitted the entry of fuel allegedly for the mine’s dewatering activities. Experts have shown that OceanaGold has caused huge depletion of water sources in the local community.
“The Didipio residents have strong grounds to resist OceanaGold. The expired FTAA renewal, the major environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and human rights violations of the mining company are irreversible evidence to end its operations,” said Lia Mai Alonzo, Executive Director, CEC-Phils.
Alonzo also emphasized that with the emergence of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, forests must be ensured to remain intact, thus destructive projects like the OceanaGold mine should be disallowed.