“It is infuriating that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has done more to care for large-scale mining corporations than to respond to the millions of Filipinos becoming increasingly facing starvation, police brutality, and unchecked contamination of the COVID-19 virus.”
By AARON MACARAEG
MANILA — Some 100 members of Philippine National Police dispersed the people’s barricade in barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya to force the entry of the tankers of Australian-Canadian mining company Oceanagold, April 6.
The policemen were in full riot gear when they dismantled the 29-people barricade and arrested Roland Pulido, chairman of Didipio Earth Saver’s Movement Association (Desama).
According to Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK), policemen arrived at the community on April 4, serving residents copies of a letter allegedly from Palace Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to allow the entry of a fuel tank for the operations of the Oceanagold large-scale mine.
The people’s barricade was set up in July 2019 by the local government together with ANVIK and the United People of Kasibu Nueva Vizcaya to prevent the further illegal operation of Oceanagold.
Oceanagold’s financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) has already expired in June 2019 but continued to operate until October last year.
“The barricaders’ only fault was fighting for their right against the human rights violator Oceanagold!” ANVIK said in a statement.
Kalikasan, meanwhile, said the police’s move was a violation of the national government’s own imposition of the Luzon-wide lockdown amid the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“It is infuriating that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has done more to care for large-scale mining corporations than to respond to the millions of Filipinos becoming increasingly facing starvation, police brutality, and unchecked contamination of the COVID-19 virus,” Leon Dulce, Kalikasan national coordinator said.
The group also asserted that the mine “should have ceased operating and immediately embarked on its final mine rehabilitation and closure” in the light of the expired and non-renewal of its FTAA.”
As of this writing, the three fuel tankers have entered the community. Pulido, meanwhile, is in the custody of PNP-Kasibu.