Food vs greed

N. Vizcaya folk lose rice lands to Aussie mining operations

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya–Tribal residents of this upland town have expressed disgust over the rapid loss of their rice lands amid the ongoing land-clearing operations by Australian mining firm OceanaGold Philippines Inc.

Officials of Didipio village here fear a possible shortage of locally produced rice and other farm products as OceanaGold continues to bulldoze lands despite controversies hounding its planned operations.

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Payback

GMA pays tribute to North Luzon bishops

DUPAX DEL NORTE, Nueva Vizcaya–President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday finally got her chance to personally thank her closest allies from the Catholic church in Northern Luzon who have stood by her side amid the recent political storm that has hit her administration.

Speaking at the thanksgiving mass during the 69th birthday celebration of Bishop Ramon Villena of the Catholic diocese here, the President thanked three other Catholic prelates for their roles in maintaining peace and political stability in the country.

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‘Monstrous’

Stop Aussie mining project, bishop asks GMA

DUPAX DEL NORTE, Nueva Vizcaya–-A close ally in the Catholic church has called on President Macapagal-Arroyo to order the suspension of operations of an Australian mining project, following alleged violations of human rights it has committed against indigenous peoples in the province.

Bishop Ramon Villena, who played host to Ms Arroyo during his 69th birthday celebration here on Monday, said OceanaGold Philippines Inc. should be stopped until its alleged abuses were investigated and resolved.

“It is not yet too late to stop the project because they have not started operations. If we don’t stop this company now, there will be graver abuses, more blood will flow,” said Villena, who Ms Arroyo appointed in 2006 as chair of the Regional Development Council for Cagayan Valley.

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Blood from mining

Shooting mars Lent in N. Vizcaya village

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Violence marred the observance of Lent in remote Didipio village in Kasibu town after the shooting of a resident allegedly by a security guard of a foreign mining company as it tried to resume demolition activities in the area on Black Saturday.

Supt. Domingo Lucas, acting provincial police director, said Emilio Pumihic was shot and wounded at around 11 a.m. allegedly by Whitney Dongiahon, a security guard for the proposed mining area of Australian firm OceanaGold Philippines Inc.

Lucas said the shooting happened after residents had an altercation with members of OceanaGold’s demolition team and their armed escorts as the latter tried to enter the villagers’ property on Saturday.

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Squeeze

Mining firm wants villagers to pay for its losses

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–An Australian mining company has asked the court here to compel tribal residents in an upland village in Kasibu town to pay for the losses it has incurred, after a court order forced it to stop demolishing houses for its planned gold-copper mining project.

In a hearing on Wednesday, officials of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. asked Judge Vincent Eden Panay to increase the bond already posted by 31 complainants from Didipio village, in connection with an injunction case they filed last week against the company.
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Tribes fight

Aussie mine firm retreats after villagers clash

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–A clash between opposing groups of indigenous peoples on Saturday has forced officials of an Australian mining company to backtrack from their attempt to enter a planned exploration site in upland Kasibu town.

On Sunday, company workers and a group of pro-mining Bugkalot natives began pulling out from Pa-o village to avoid what could be a violent confrontation with villagers opposing the entry of RoyalCo Resources Ltd.

Violence erupted when a group of about 100 antimining residents belonging to the Kasibu Inter-tribal Response for Ecological Development (Kired) clashed with a group of pro-mining Bugkalot.

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