Amid anti-mining rhetoric, gov’t gives green light to 2nd big mine in N. Vizcaya
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—This province officially becomes host its second large-scale mine with the approval Monday to start commercial operations, amid pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte expressing disdain for mining operations.
     Mario Ancheta, director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for Cagayan Valley region, said he has signed the permit allowing FCF Minerals, Inc., a British-owned firm, to begin full-blast mining production at its gold-molybdenum venture in Runruno village in Quezon town.
     “They had declared their intent as early as September last year but we needed to conduct our validation, and had to wait for the results of the debugging (test run). I signed (the permit) Monday,” he said.
     Ancheta’s approval comes a week after President Duterte slammed mining companies for failing to rehabilitate the damage they cause on the environment, as he belittled the industry’s contributions to the country’s economy.
In this 2015 file photo, the Runruno mine of British-owned Metals Exploration Plc in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya was ordered suspended after part of its mine tailings facility eroded following heavy rains. On July 17, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau gave approval for its start of commercial production. Photo by Melvin Gascon

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Motorists slam DPWH over ‘killer’ repairs

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Motorists here on Monday expressed outrage over the supposed negligence of government on the safety of travellers, with simultaneous road repairs posing danger to the riding public.

Travelers blamed the crashes and gridlocks occurring on the highway due to poor management of traffic at road repair sites, and the lack and improper installation of early warning signs.

“The way the road repairs are being undertaken makes one think there is no government supervision. It’s like a free-for-all, ignoring the safety of the public,” said bus driver Roger Collado.

Ill-equipped workers manage traffic flow at a road construction site in Barangay Villa Flores in Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, one of numerous road works being carried out by the DPWH. Motorists have assailed the agency due to unending repairs for the supposed disregard public safety.#MELVIN GASCON

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didipioOceanaGold Phils. asked to start rehab of Didipio mine site

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya–Town officials here have called on the national government to order a foreign mining firm to start its rehabilitation of the mine site in Didipio village after its operation was ordered suspended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In a resolution, the Kasibu town council asked the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to direct OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. to repair a “gaping crater-like pit” in the middle of Didipio village, site of its gold-copper mining project.

The officials were invoking the Mining Act of 1995, that OceanaGold was mandated to undertake rehabilitation of “excavated, mined out, tailings covered and disturbed areas” of its Didipio mining site.

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N. Vizcaya folk hail looming suspension of Aussie mine firm

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Residents of this province expressed delight over the impending suspension of operations of an Australian mining firm in upland village in Kasibu town after it failed a recent mine audit conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).



What used to be a vast green rice and vegetable farms in Didipio village is now the reservoir of toxic mine tailings from the gold-copper project of OceanaGold, Philippines, Inc.

But they said people of Nueva Vizcaya should remain vigilant that the “temporary victory” will produce good results, and make OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. pay for the damage it has caused on the people and the environment in Didipio village, site of its gold-copper project.

“This is a welcome development. After several years of struggle, mass actions, position/petition papers, international study tours whose findings fell on deaf ears—thanks God our prayers have been heard,” said Teresita Acosta, executive director of Friends of the Environment for Development and Sustainability (Frends), a non-government organization.

Frends belongs to an alliance of groups opposed to mining in Nueva Vizcaya, which include civil society, as well as religious and people’s organizations.

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Villagers rebuff mine firm over failed promises

By Melvin Gascon

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya—Officials and residents of a mining community here on Wednesday confronted a mining company over unfulfilled promises, as it now plans to increase production rate of its gold-copper mining operation in this upland town, some 270 km north of Manila.

In a public meeting, community leaders and villagers took turns in assailing OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. for seeking to amend its existing environmental compliance certificate (ECC) without showing that it has complied with it commitments when it was first granted a mining license in 1994.

“You (Oceanagold) must first inform the people what the original ECC contained and show proof that you have faithfully complied with it, because without that, you should not even be looking to amend it,” village councilor Celia Bahag told OceanaGold representatives.

Villagers have become highly skeptical of the company, council member the official said, because of its failure to honor past commitments, such as the improvement of village roads, and construction of a hospital and a community park.


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Mine firms blamed for breakup of families, communities in N. Vizcaya

Delegates of an international solidarity mission have scored foreign mining companies operating in Nueva Vizcaya for supposedly causing division among families and residents in the upland communities they have occupied.

The group expressed disgust over how mining companies OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. and Metals Exploration, Inc. have “systematically” destroyed close-knit relationships among clans and villagers, allowing them to enter the areas and carry out their mining activities despite local opposition.

They noted the “great disparity” between claims of the mining companies, which operate two large-scale mining projects in Nueva Vizcaya, on their treatment of the communities and the “reality on the ground”.

This view of the Didipio mine site in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya gives villagers a constant reminder of the extent of destruction that the OceanaGold Philippines’ gold-copper project has caused on the mountains and the valley that used to be their main source of livelihood. The damage, however, is not only environmental. Photo by Melvin Gascon

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CSC to N. Vizcaya gov: comply or face sanctions

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–The Civil Service Commission has issued a final warning to Gov. Ruth Padilla over her alleged failure to abide by the commission’s order that affirmed the appointments and promotions of 62 permanent employees she illegally dismissed and demoted in 2013.

In a resolution, the CSC directed Padilla to “fully implement” its March 17 decision reinstating the employees to their former positions, and to pay them their back salaries from the time they were ousted from their posts.

The CSC also gave Padilla 10 days to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for failure to implement “a lawful order”.

“Her failure to comply with this order within the specified period shall be considered a waiver thereof and appropriate action will be rendered based on the available records,” the CSC said, through Commissioner Robert Martinez.


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