REPULSED

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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