Withdrawal symptoms

Move to oust Aussie mine firm gains ground

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Officials and anti-mining groups on Tuesday stepped up their campaign to support the proposal of the Commission Human Rights to cause the ouster of an Australian mining company from the province and the revocation of its mining permit for supposed abuses it committed against villagers in a remote community in Kasibu town.

Catholic Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong said expressed support to the CHR recommendation for the government to withdraw the financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) it entered into with OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).

“We are again inspired and fired up to continue the uphill struggle in Didipio and the other areas in the Diocese of Bayombong endangered by mining applications. We will not relent nor give up. Our battle cry lives on: no to mining, yes to life,” he said.

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Helpless

Ill-equipped firemen could only watch victims die

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–As the raging bluish and reddish fire engulfed the five-story hotel, and thick, black smoke billowed from its openings, young men, trapped inside their rooms, were frantically waving, shouting and crying for help from the building’s grilled windows.

“We’re burning! May exam pa kami bukas (We’re having our exams tomorrow)!” one of the trapped men were heard shouting, as he and several others desperately tried to extricate themselves out of the window.

But responding firemen, whose ladder was short by two stories, could not reach out to the victims and could only helplessly watch. Minutes later, the wailings waned, and the waving hands, one after the other, disappeared. One victim whose body was later recovered had both legs jutting out of his hotel window.

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