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CAGAYAN, Philippines – Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla has launched another tirade against large scale mining in the province, targetting Australian mining company OceanaGold Philippines Incorporated (OGPI).
In a dialogue with pro-mining and anti-mining groups on Tuesday, September 6, Padilla said the benefits the province gets from OGPI are just “temporary.”
“The benefits we get from mining are only temporary….The lives of people in Kasibu [town] are not worth the money OGPI owes to the province,” Padilla said, referring to the supposed P130-million debt of OGPI to the province.
OGPI operates an open pit mine in Didipio village in Kasibu town, producing tons of copper and gold yearly.
Padilla said that the provinces will not be dependent on the mining industry and is now “strengthening and enhancing the tourism and agricultural industry.”
According to Engineer Edgardo Sabado, provincial planning and development officer, the provincial government is designing a developmental framework to support and provide alternatives for those who depend on mining operations in the province.
“We will not be dependent on mining but on other industries….Tourism can give more benefit than mining and agriculture can last for a thousand years but mining can only last for 25 years,” Padilla added.
Padilla had earlier said that he is “absolutely” against mining.
In July, he asked Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to cancel the renewal of OGPI’s exploration permit which ends in 2021. (READ: Lopez vows cancellation of OceanaGold permit in Nueva Vizcaya)
The company has a standing extension permit of exploration period granted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and GeoSciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) under its Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) from March until 2021.
Padilla said Nueva Vizcaya should be protected since its water system is a major tributary of the major dams in Luzon, including the Ambuklao, Magat, San Roque, Pantabangan, Casecnan, Binga dams.
Explaining he is an “absolute no to mining” advocate, Padilla said that there are loopholes in the term “responsible mining.”
“The infrastructure for responsible mining is not yet in place. If I were to interpret the rules, the regulations and the laws in place at the moment is not yet enough to ensure responsible mining,” Padilla said. – Rappler.com