Local miners and mining critics alike turned to various social media platforms for their petitions calling for the renewal and rejection of OceanaGold Philippines Inc.’s Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
With issuance of an FTAA permit, a multinational company will be granted rights to explore and extract minerals in the Philippines as long as said company provides support in technology and financial resources.
One petition hosted at Bataris.org calls for the non-renewal of the mining firm’s permit of Didipio mine in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Nueva Vizcaya already issued a resolution rejecting the renewal of OceanaGold’s FTAA last Monday.
Gov. Carlos M. Padilla declared his stand against the said extension in a forum hosted by the group Alyansa Tigil Mina in Quezon City on Tuesday.
“I will exercise the full powers of my office to strictly implement the Environment Code of Nueva Vizcaya. There will be no sacred cows where the rights and welfare of the people are concerned,” Padilla was quoted in a report by ManilaStandard.net.
OceanGold obtained its first FTAA which now covers a total of 12,000 hectares with a 725-hectare are of operating mine 25 years ago. This permit will end its effectivity by June 20.
Meanwhile, a counter-petition supported by residents of Barangay Didipio posted at Change.org directly addresses President Rodrigo Duterte to renew the permit of OceanaGold’s mine site in the area.
These residents depend on the mine operation for their livelihood. They also argue that the company has brought progressed in Didipio over the years.
In a Facebook post, images of new school buildings, cemented roads, a hospital, and a community water system nearing completion was shared by former Barangay Councilor Jolan Pugong.
“With all these improvements, how can [they] say that we are suffering today,” Pugong asked.
Detractors says mining has destroyed the environment adding that huge open pits will be left when the mines end their operations. Those in favor, however, argue that Didipio mine practices responsible mining.