Stop Human Rights Violations in Didipio! Stop Large Scale Mining in the Philippines!
On Mining
Thursday, 29 October 2009 21:05

In commemoration of the National Indigenous People’s month, support groups from the human rights community like the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PHILRIGHTS) and from the anti large scale mining groups denounce all forms of human rights violations against the indigenous peoples brought by large scale mining operations in our country.

We condemn the recent incidents of human rights violation committed by the OceanaGold Philippines Inc. an Australian mining corporation operating in Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya. The house of Elmer Lawagan, an Ifugao and a resident of Didipio was burned by unidentified men at 4 AM last October 2, 2009. Lawagan while guarding his house because of the fear of being demolished saw unidentified men together with others wearing OGPI uniforms roaming around his other house. When he approached them he was collared by one of the men and was immediately hit in different parts of the body. He saw the other men holding a 45 caliber and attaching a silencer on it. Fearing for his life he shouted to seek help from his neighbor.

At 9AM of the same day, a demolition team together with a hundred Philippine National Police (PNP) attempted to demolish several houses from the foot of the Dinkidi Hill.  When the people resisted and formed a barricade they were violently dispersed by the demolition team.

These kinds of acts of the mining company are an assault to the dignity of the Indigenous Peoples. These were done to be able to get rid of the residents and continue their operations in the area. Even without valid legal papers to wipe out the community in the surface of Didipio the mining corporation with the assistance of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the province pursues their plan resulting to the violations of the rights of the residents.

We also denounce the continuing harassment received by the IP residents of Didipio through the filing of Strategic Legal Action against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit by the mining company to be able to stop the people from resisting the mining project. We oppose the economic restraint which the      residents in the area are experiencing through putting up of checkpoints around the barangay. The said checkpoint limits the entry and exit of the agricultural products of the IPs.

The situation in Didipio is not an isolated case. It is happening all over the country. All IPs in the mining areas are experiencing the same fate. They are physically and economically displaced. They lose their means of subsistence and the worst is their cultural practices. They all suffer from the civil and political rights violations.

While condemning the human rights violations committed by the OGPI, we also demand the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to immediately cancel the mining permit in the area and issue a moratorium on large scale mining activity all over the country. We also ask the Philippine Congress to repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and enact the House Bill 6342 or the alternative mining bill.

The rights of indigenous peoples can not be sacrificed at the altar of profit.

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Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2009 11:43

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