We condemn Acts of Greed and Human Rights Violations against the Indigenous Peoples of Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya , :
SAVE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ FROM FORCED DISPLACEMENT! STOP DEMOLITION OF DWELLINGS AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTIES OF MINING-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES!
Time is fast overtaking the indigenous residents of Barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya , .
On March 18, 2008 , the 20-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that the indigenous community successfully obtained from the local court against the demolition of their houses and the clearing of their lands by an Australian mining company will end-- after which they will face anew continued and intensified attempts to destroy their homes and drive them away.
The indigenous residents have been fighting tooth and nail to defend their houses and communities against the wrecking crew of the Australian mining firm, Oceana Gold . Their lands are the site the mining company’s planned gold-copper project. Since December 2007 until the first week of January this year, 17 houses were torn down. Last February 10, 2008 , six more houses were destroyed.
Last March 3, 2008, the indigenous community joined other mining-affected communities in challenging the constitutionality of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 before the . The FTAA has been granted by the government in 1994 and invoked by Oceana Gold , to justify its repeated attempts to clear the area of the proposed mining project’s 425-hectare primary impact area right at the heart of the resisting upland communities. The FTAA is one of the means granted by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 for foreign companies to explore, develop and extract the country’s mineral resources. The Indigenous Peoples in Didipio, led by the Didipio Earthsavers Multi-Purpose Association (DESAMA) have stiffly resisted large-scale mining incursions into their communities since 1994.
The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth-Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE-Philippines) condemns in the strongest possible terms, these reported acts of aggression and violence as well as human rights violations by the Oceana Gold against the Didipio residents who reject mining operations in their communities. The Australian company stands accused of taking properties of Indigenous Peoples, after it failed to convince the residents to sell their lands to the firm. We denounce the arrogance of the company, including its officials, as they reportedly ordered their contractors to “demolish houses and then negotiate later”, and in justifying their inhuman acts through their so-called “rights” under the Mining Act of 1995 and its FTAA.
We also deplore the reported complicity of elements of the Provincial Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as local officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)–as they also stand accused of aiding and abetting the Australian mining company in its demolition activities.
We condemn all these reported acts and incidents as they violate due process and human rights of the indigenous peoples of Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya , .
We call on all justice organizations, human rights and indigenous peoples advocates to support and extend solidarity to the indigenous peoples in Didipio and other communities in Nueva Vizcaya similarly affected by mining. WE URGENTLY ASK YOU TO:
1) Join hands with the indigenous peoples in Nueva Vizcaya to assert and defend their rights against the demolition and other acts of violence committed against them;
2) Stand with them in calling for justice and human rights and to prevent the residents’ forcible evictions once the TRO is lifted;
3) Demand an investigation and prosecution of those involved in unlawful and criminal acts, including the reported accomplices from implicated government agencies and personnel;
4) Urge the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Commission of Human Rights to investigate and punish alleged erring government personnel in Nueva Viscaya;
5) Call for the respect for the rule of law and the human rights of all peoples in mining-affected communities and areas in the Philippines .
6) Demand for the cancellation of the FTAA of Oceana Gold and all mining permits issued by the Philippine government;
7) Demand for the scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995!
We also call on you to write an Urgent Letter of Concern addressed to the following:
1. H. E.
President of the Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Tel: + to 80
Cell: +63. / +63.
2. Hon. Purificacion V. Quisumbing
Chairperson, Philippine Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Blg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City , Philippines
3. Sec. Jose L. Atienza Jr
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Central Office, Visayas Avenue
Diliman, 1100, Quezon City , Philippines
Tel: 928.06.91 to 93 loc. 2003, 2008
4. OcenaGold Corporation
James E. Askew-Chairman
Level 5, 250 Collins Street , Melbourne , Australia
Jose P. Leviste
2nd Floor, CJV Building
108 Aguirre Street, Legaspi Village
1229 Makati City , Philippines