Partylist hails Vizcaya dads for withdrawing support to mining firm

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today hailed the provincial board of Nueva Vizcaya as it withdrew its support to OceanaGold Philippines, which operates in Barangay Didipio, Kasibu town.

“They have just taken the another decisive step to protect its people and its fragile forests and watersheds,” Casiño said. He specified the Nueva Vizcaya Vice-governor Jose Gambito and Board Members Edu Balgos and Merlie Talingdan, proponents of the move to totally withdraw support and endorsement to OceanaGold to mine a significant part of Kasibu town.

He said Board Members Glenn Afan, Efren Quiben, Tony Dupiano, Evangeline Burton of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and Amado Mangaoang of the Liga ng Barangay Federation also deserve commendation as they have also sided with their constituents who value their biodiversity and their peaceful way of life.

“These local government officials, along with their good Gov. Luisa Cuaresma and Kasibu Mayor Romeo Tayaban are making history with this move,” Casiño said.

The militant solon added,”This is an unprecedented milestone in our country’s history of local governance. This should set a shining example to all other local governments under siege by arrogant and environmentally-destructive foreign large-scale mining companies.”

The Provincial Board passed the resolution on with a vote of eight in favor; three against, and one abstention. It shall take effect amid the ongoing impasse between the province and OceanaGold over payment of local taxes.

“This will teach OceanaGold and power-drunk officials of the national government agencies like Environment Sec. Lito Atienza a lesson. They should heed the oppposition of the local people – indigenous peoples, small scale miners and farmers included – and local authorities who will directly suffer the long-term damage from large-scale mining operations. We also hope that other local government units take this historical move of the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government into consideration,” Casiño said.

In support the LGU move, Bayan Muna also shared the view that OceanaGold, with the help of certain national government line agencies, committed various social, civil, human rights and environmental violations.

“The provincial board was right in its decision to defend the people of Nueva Vizcaya, this will also help us in the ongoing probe into the operations and the alleged dirty tricks, bribery and human rights violations of OceanaGold at the House of Representatives,” Casiño said.

Casiño is the author of House Resolution 594 that mandated the Congressional Committee on National Cultural Communities to probe OceanaGold’s entry into Nueva Vizcaya’s remaining forestlands and the critical watershed areas in the region. # Vincent Michael L. Borneo(NorDis)

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