Dear friends and comrades:
We are writing this urgent call for support to raise awareness and solidarity as the people of Nueva Vizcaya, an important watershed valley province in the Philippines, has just mounted a people’s barricade against the 11,489-hectare large-scale gold-copper mine of Australian-Canadian mining corporation Oceanagold.
The foreign mine’s 25-year Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) recently expired last June 20, 2019, but Oceanagold has defied restraining orders by the Provincial Government.
Oceanagold claims it can continue operating as it has successfully railroaded the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s (MGB) endorsements of its FTAA renewal application to the Office of the President.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature is now the only thing left for Oceanagold to be able to continue plundering Vizcaya’s mineralized lands for another 25 years.
Various investigations, complaints, and local government resolutions have exposed that Oceanagold’s environmental and social violations are legion, including the following:
- A 2017 community health diagnosis by the IBON Foundation found that 80% of Barangay Didipio, the mine’s host village, have complained of clean water access problems amid Oceanagold’s depletion and pollution of rivers
- A 2018 investigative report by the Institute for Policy Studies and MiningWatch Canada revealed that Oceanagold figured in 10 violations of national laws and FTAA contract provisions relating to environmental, land, labor, and indigenous people’s rights
A 2019 communication by 9 United Nations Special Rapporteurs to the Duterte government raised questions on Oceanagold’s history of civil-political, socio-economic, and environmental rights violations, including violent demolitions, illegal arrests, and the forced displacement of communities, to which the Duterte government has not yet responded
See more reference documents in our google drive repository here: https://tinyurl.com/OceanagoldDocs
The stoppage of Oceanagold’s big mine is urgent, as it threatens Nueva Vizcaya’s landscapes that form an important biodiversity corridor, watershed haven, and agro-forestry hub:
- At least 499 species of flora and fauna, of which 110 are endemic to the Philippines, can be found in the forests where Oceanagold is operating
- 97% of Vizcaya’s land area is part of the Magat River Forest Reserve, and its headwaters supply water to 7 downstream hydro power projects and numerous water districts and irrigation systems
- The mine’s host town of Kasibu is known as the citrus capital of the Philippines and the province has been recently recognized as a 2018 National Rice Achiever by the Department of Agriculture.
We thus call on the international community to support the Vizcaya people’s blockade in defense of land, life, and environment through the following:
- Sign and share extensively the online petition we initiated calling for the cancellation of Oceanagold’s FTAA here: https://bit.ly/2MMAPTe. We also encourage you to release your own creative multimedia linking to the petition such to help drive people to it.
- Organize and participate in the International Coordinated Action against OceanaGold on August 9, 2019. There will be protest action in front of the offices of OceanaGold in the Philippines, Australia and Canada.
- Write a letter to the 9 Special Rapporteurs encouraging a follow-up public statement pressuring the Duterte government to initiate interim accountability measures against Oceanagold, in the context of these recent developments, while their inquiry is pending:
Surya Deva, Rapporteur of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights – email@example.com
David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on Environment – firstname.lastname@example.org
Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Waste – email@example.com
Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on Food – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on Health – email@example.com
Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on Housing – firstname.lastname@example.org
Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders – email@example.com
Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples – firstname.lastname@example.org Leo Heller, Special Rapporteur on Water Sanitation – email@example.com
- Donate or directly participate to support national solidarity missions being organized to help raise their morale, logistical needs, and possible legal defense. https://tinyurl.com/kalikasandonate
Should you be interested to coordinate, or if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), the national grassroots alliance supporting the barricade, through our international networks coordinator Mr. Clemente Bautista (firstname.lastname@example.org, +63 2 356 2166, +63 917 137 2930).
Thank you, and we look forward to your warm solidarity and support!
For the People and the Environment,
National Coordinator,Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)
International People’s Conference on Mining (IPCM)
FR. VICENTE TIAM
Chairman of the Board
Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK)
Samahang Pang Karapatan ng Katutubong Magsasaka at Manggagawa Inc. (SAPAKKMMI)
Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC-Phils)
Asia-Pacific Network of Environmental Defenders (APNED)
Working Group Member
International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission XIX on Environment and Climate Justice
PresidentSpirit of Eureka