Mining EO won’t solve N. Vizcaya dilemma, says bishop

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Catholic Bishop Ramon Villena on Monday thumbed down President’s Aquino’s Executive Order 79, saying the new directive will not solve the problems confronting the province on mining.

In a statement, Villena, whose diocese covers the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, described EO 79 as a “rehash” of Republic Act 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

He cited five issues which, he said, cannot be addressed by President Aquino’s order.

Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong. Photo by Melvin Gascon

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Halt blacksand mining, Cagayan gov orders

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Cagayan Gov. Alvaro Antonio on Tuesday ordered the stoppage of operations of eight firms that have been conducting blacksand extractions in three coastal towns in the province.

In his order, the governor cited the recommendations of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) which found violations on the firms’ operations in Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga towns based on field visits by its monitoring team in June and on Monday.

Alvaro sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police in implementing the stoppage order.

People of all ages troop to the beaches of Villa Leonora in Buguey, Cagayan, one of the villages that have been the site of magnetite sand extraction as a source of livelihood for locals who sell mounds of black earth to foreign mining companies operating in the area. Photo by Melvin Gascon

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CHR starts probe of allegations of abuses by Vizcaya mine firm

from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 27, 2012.

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday began investigating allegations of human rights abuses attributed to an Australian company that is planning to start large-scale mining in the remote village of Runruno in Quezon town, about 40 km from here.

Lawyer Anton Cruz, CHR special investigator, said the agency will ask the Philippine National Police to relieve policemen stationed in Runruno, amid reports that they have been harassing residents who refused to give up their lands to make way for the gold-molybdenum project owned by FCF Minerals Inc., an Australian firm.

“The most pressing among the complaints right now is the residents’ imminent ejection from their lands because of these reports of the use of force and intimidation,” said Cruz, head of a five-member team that met with members of the Bit-ang Runruno Residents Association here on Tuesday.

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English-worded court order blamed for ‘confusion’ in N. Vizcaya

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Provincial board members who have questioned the province’s 2012 appropriation law on Wednesday asked the regional trial court here to translate in the Iloco dialect its July 12 order which clarified the freezing of the province’s annual budget.

The petitioners made the plea amid what they said were varying interpretations among the general public as to the contents of the temporary restraining order (TRO), which the court handed down July 6 and had led to a virtual shutdown of government operations for four days last week.

However, there have been varying interpretations of the court order, the nine Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members said, “maybe” because the order was written in English.

“That it is very desirable that the said order be translated officially in the (Iloco) dialect, the lingua franca in this part of the region, so that those who are minded to read it would not be mislead (sic) by sheer misunderstanding due to the language barrier,” the petitioners said.

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‘Ifugaos’ nature gods mad over mining project’

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Tribal leaders in a mining community in upland Kasibu town bewailed the supposed lack of reverence for nature gods by a foreign mining company in its construction activities, which, they said, caused the death of an official of one of its contractors.

Tolentino Inlab, president of the Didipio Earthsavers Multipurpose Association, said another life was lost due to the “aggressive behavior” of foreign mining companies, disregarding the “feelings” of tribal deities.

“The company must look at the warning conveyed by this tragedy very cautiously because it would seem that the tribal gods are angry; this project carries with it a curse,” he said, referring to a large-scale mining project in Didipio village being put up by Australian firm OceanaGold Philippines, Inc.

The ill-fated Mitsubishi Strada belonging to Delta Earthmoving, Inc.
that was recovered in remote Sitio Lower Alimit in Kasibu, Nueva
Vizcaya. Contributed photo

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Firm exec drowns in N. Vizcaya mine site

CAMP SATURNINO DUMLAO, Nueva Vizcaya—The manager of a construction firm working at a planned mine site in upland Kasibu town drowned after his vehicle was swept away by river current in Barangay (village) Didipio there on Friday, police said on Sunday.

Nueva Vizcaya Police Director Senior Superintendent Valfrie Tabian said Joselito Raguini, branch manager of Delta Earthmoving Inc., was driving his Mitsubishi Strada pickup and crossing an overflow bridge in Sitio (sub village) Dumpit when strong current swept away his vehicle at 2 a.m.

Delta is the main contractor for the construction of the mine complex of the Didipio gold-copper project, which is being built by OceanaGold Philippines Inc., an Australian company.

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Shame campaign hits N. Vizcaya anti-budget officials

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Provincial officials have found themselves in the middle of a firestorm here, reaping blame for filing a suit that has caused a virtual shutdown of government operations here for the past four days.

Residents from various sectors heaped the blame on Rep. Carlos Padilla and his nine political allies in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, who petitioned the regional trial court here to void the province’s 2012 budget ordinance.

Text messages were being circulated enumerating the names of board members who filed the suit and asked for a temporary restraining order, which froze the continued use of the questioned P786-million budget for 20 days starting July 6.

Placards criticizing the alleged meddling of Rep. Carlos Padilla in the province’s affairs gets the attention of school kids at the provincial capitol grounds in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya Wednesday. Photo by Melvin Gascon

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