• Legal Rights Center

Solidarity Statement Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines


“My heart bleeds for our brave men and women of Didipio

who had to suffer and be arrested for expressing

their resistance against mining, a great menace to Mother Earth.

I salute them for their bravery and being steadfast for the

protection of the environment to insure the survival of

all living things and of our planet.

Instead of providing protection to OceanaGold

whose FTAA had expired nine (9) months ago,

the national government should tell

OGPI TO PACK UP AND GO HOME.”

- Gov. Carlos Padilla, Province of Nueva Vizcaya

Statement of solidarity and condemnation of the violent dispersal of an indigenous community barricade of a suspended mine site in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines


In solidarity with the people of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya in asserting their right to a balanced and healthful ecology, ATM, Kalikasan PNE, LRC-KsK/FoE Philippines, and MiningWatch Canada, as well as other national and international groups, condemn the violent dispersal of members of an indigenous community lawfully barricading the large-scale mining operations of Canadian-Australian OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI), in Didipio.


On 6 April 2020, a 100-strong team of regional police escorted three diesel tankers and tried to enter the OceanGold mining site, on the strength of a letter by executive secretary Salvador Medialdea authorizing the entry of the tankers. The diesel was said to be going to be used to drain water seeping into the mining tunnels of OceanaGold’s suspended operations.


Some 29 members of an Ifugao indigenous community long opposed to mining barred the entry of the tanker as it violated the suspension order against OceanaGold. Operations have been suspended following the expiration of OceanaGold’s operating permit on 20 June 2019.

After nine months of peacefully blockading the mine without police interference, on this day the community was overwhelmed by the large police force, and a violent dispersal ensued, which included the beating and arrest of community leader Rolando Pulido.


This dispersal contravened the right of the community to assembly and violated local and court orders that have suspended the operations of OceanaGold. The use of violence by the police to disperse a peaceful assembly of indigenous people is a reflection of the extraordinary latitude that the government has given to the mining industry.


What is even more disconcerting is that that this happened at a time when the country is trying to flatten the curve of corona virus infections. The blockaders were therefore following the guidelines provided to avoid the spread of COVID-19. OceanaGold’s interests shifted precious government manpower and resources away from that effort to support its business interests.


While many businesses not involved in providing essential goods have shut down operations, a large-scale mining company like OceanaGold wants to be an exception, all in the name of profit. Greed, indeed, does not sleep.

Extractive activities like mining are symptomatic of an economic order that commodifies nature for profit to the detriment of people who rely on a healthy environment for their food security and livelihood. This is worrying because environmentally destructive activities are known to play a role in the spread of infectious diseases.

The community’s barricade is a lawful expression of the indigenous peoples of Didipio, local governments, and solidarity groups in support of a local government order suspending OceanaGold’s operations. OceanaGold’s operations have depleted ground water and contaminated nearby rivers of Nueva Vizcaya and displaced countless families. The mine has sown division in the community. OceanaGold should not be surprised that many members of the community oppose the renewal (for another 25 years) of a mining project that has caused them strife and suffering.


In view of the above, we call on:


  • The Office of the President to CANCEL the FTAA renewal application of OceanaGold with finality, on the basis of its atrocious environmental and human rights record.

  • The Philippine Commission on Human Rights to investigate this violent dispersal in the context of longstanding violations of OceanaGold;

  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a cease-and-desist order to Oceana Gold, to suspend their illegal operations.

  • The Department of Interior and Local Government to investigate on the conduct of members of the police from Region 2, Quirino Province and from the Municipality of Kasibu, and to look into violations of quarantine measures by OceanaGold itself.


In solidarity,

  1. 11.11.11 Coalition of Belgian North South Movement

  2. 350 Pilipinas

  3. 350.org Japan

  4. Academia Cidadã - Citizenship Academy

  5. AfrosRD

  6. Aid/Watch

  7. AID/WATCH (Australia)

  8. Akbayan and Gamma Epsilon Int'l Fraternity/Sorority Zeta Chapter

  9. AKBAYOUTH

  10. Alab Katipunan

  11. Alyansa Tigil Mina

  12. Amherst College, USA

  13. Amigos da Terra Brasil

  14. Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe - ATALC

  15. Amigos de la Tierra Argentina

  16. AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women

  17. Anakbayan Ottawa

  18. Anakbayan Ottawa

  19. Andrew Lees Trust (ALT UK)

  20. Art Atak

  21. Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development

  22. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

  23. Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development

  24. Asociación ambiental e cultural Petón do Lobo

  25. ATALC

  26. Ateneo Human Rights Center

  27. Balkan Energy and Forest Trends, Serbia

  28. Bandilang Itim

  29. Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association

  30. Bangladesh Krishok Federation

  31. Bangladesh Krishok Federation

  32. Beyond Extraction

  33. Bloque Latinoamericano Berlín

  34. Both ENDS, Netherlands

  35. Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO)

  36. Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (UK)

  37. CANADA-PHILIPPINES SOLIDARITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

  38. CCFD-Terre Solidaire

  39. CCMCL BAYWATCH FOUNDATION

  40. CENSAT Agua VIva Colombia

  41. Centar za zivotnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina

  42. Center for Environmental Concerns - Philippines

  43. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

  44. Centre for Environmental Justice/ Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka

  45. Centre for Human Rights and Development

  46. Centre for Human Rights and Development

  47. Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA), McGill University, Montreal, Canada

  48. Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur

  49. Centre for Transparence and Freedom of Information

  50. Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham

  51. Civil Expertise

  52. Clarion

  53. Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN)

  54. COECOCEIBA - Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica

  55. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ)

  56. Community Resource Centre Foundation

  57. Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia

  58. Convergence of Initiatives for Environmental Justice, Inc.

  59. Damayan BC

  60. Damian Law Offices

  61. Defenders Protection Initiative

  62. Department of Education

  63. Dhaatri Trust

  64. Digo Bikas Institute

  65. Division Federation of Supreme Students Government of Nueva Vizcaya

  66. Earthworks

  67. Eath Thrive

  68. Eco-Justice Unit, Diocese of New Westminster

  69. EnergyTransparency Assosiation

  70. Environics Trust

  71. European Network on Indigenous Peoples (ENIP)

  72. Familie

  73. Finnish Asiatic Society

  74. Focus on the Global South

  75. Forest Foundation

  76. Forest Foundation Philippines

  77. Forest Peoples Programme

  78. FORPA Forest Protection Allies

  79. FRENDS

  80. Fresh Eyes, UK

  81. Friends of the Earth Australia

  82. Friends of the Earth Europe

  83. Friends of the Earth International

  84. Friends of the Earth Japan

  85. Friends of the Earth Netherlands / Milieudefensie

  86. Friends of the Earth US

  87. Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia

  88. Fundacja "Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE" (Poland)

  89. Gender, Commications, Global Mobility Studies Unit NDU Lebanon

  90. Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative ( EXALT)

  91. Global Forest Coalition

  92. IBON Foundation

  93. ICCA Consortium

  94. Igapo Project

  95. Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)

  96. Individual

  97. Innabuyog Gabriela

  98. Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology, Germany

  99. Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project

  100. International Accountability Project

  101. International Association of People's Lawyers

  102. International IPMSDL

  103. Isabela State University

  104. ISRDS

  105. IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands

  106. IWGIA

  107. Kalikasan-PNE

  108. Karapatab Negros

  109. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network

  110. Knights of Columbus/ Indigenous People

  111. Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM)

  112. KRuHA Indonesia

  113. Kurawal Foundation, Jakarta

  114. KWCHRP

  115. Limerick Area Conservation Coalition

  116. London Mining Network

  117. London Mining Network

  118. LRC

  119. Malach Consulting

  120. Malaya-USA, Indiana University

  121. Marea Roja Argentina

  122. Marian Supreme Government

  123. MENSCHENRECHTE 3000 e.V, Germany

  124. Migrante Australia of New South Wales

  125. Migrante Canada

  126. Mines Minerals & RIGHTS former Editor

  127. Mines, Minerals & People

  128. Mining Injustice Solidarity Network

  129. Mining Watch Canada

  130. Mongolian Women's Employment Supporting Federation

  131. Mongolian women's fund

  132. Mongolian Women's Fund

  133. Mouvement Ecologoque FoE Lux

  134. Myanmar Environmental Legal Services (MELS)

  135. Myanmar Environmental Legal Services (MELS)

  136. National Secretariat of the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP-NS)

  137. NDU

  138. Nepal Integrated Development Initiatives (NIDI), Nepal

  139. NGO Forum on ADB

  140. Nilad Environment Network

  141. NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark

  142. NTFP EP Philippines

  143. NTFP-EP Asia

  144. NTFP-EP India

  145. NTFP-EP Indonesia

  146. NTFP-EP Malaysia

  147. NTFP-EP Vietnam/SIE

  148. Nueva Vizcaya Youth Leaders Network

  149. Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization Public Union

  150. On behalf of Development Studies, University of Helsinki

  151. Oxfam

  152. Oyu Tolgoi Watch

  153. Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC)

  154. Parish Youth Ministry

  155. PASA

  156. Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.

  157. Philippines Australia Solidarity Association

  158. PowerShift e.V.

  159. PROCESS Foundation Panay, Inc

  160. Professor ( retired) Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

  161. Publish What You Pay

  162. Publish What You Pay Australia

  163. PWYP

  164. PWYP Azerbaijan

  165. PYM

  166. Red Cross Youth

  167. REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay

  168. RwB

  169. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

  170. Salva la Selva

  171. Salvemos las Villuercas

  172. Save Our Sky Blue Waters and Save Lake Superior Association

  173. Save Our Sperrins (SOS), IRELAND

  174. SIBUYAN AGAINS MINING

  175. SK

  176. Sk secretary of Bone South Aritao Nueva Vizcaya And Vice President Of Kabataan Kilos Kontra Droga At Terorismo

  177. Solidariedade Moçambique

  178. Spirit of Eureka South Australia

  179. Stiftung Asienhaus

  180. Sulong UBC

  181. Supreme Student Government

  182. Tanggapang Panligal ng Katutubong Pilipino (PANLIPI)

  183. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

  184. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

  185. The Development Institute

  186. The Free West Papua Campaign

  187. The Gaia Foundation

  188. The Greens Movement of Georgia/Friends of the Earth-Georgia

  189. The Yemeni Organization for Economic and Social Development

  190. TKPT-Jatam

  191. Tuklas Pilipinas Society

  192. Unifying Sectoral Responses on Environmental Protocols in Sibonga (USREPS)

  193. United Church of Canada

  194. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil / Institute for Advanced Study, USA

  195. UNLAD-BLFFA

  196. URGEWALD

  197. vzw Climaxi

  198. Water JUSTICE AND GENDER

  199. Witness Radio Organisation - Uganda

  200. WomanHealth Philippines

  201. WomanHealth Philippines

  202. WWF-Philippines

  203. Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation), Nepal

Timeline of Events leading to the Violent Dispersal


  • June 20, 2019

OceanaGold’s permit to mine expires. No activity may be conducted by the company. President Duterte, the only person who can authorize a permit, has not granted a renewal of the mine’s permit.


  • June 20, 2019

Acting on the permit expiry, Nueva Vizcaya governor Carlos Padilla came out with an advisory enjoining the company to suspend its operations.


  • June 25, 2019

Governor Padilla files an Executive Order ordering the provincial police, the provincial environment office, and the municipal and barangay (village) governments to enforce the suspension of mining operations.


  • July 1, 2019 up to the present

With overwhelming support from government institutions (from the barangay, provincial, and congressional levels) and people’s organizations and solidarity groups, the local government and the community mount a people’s barricade (that continues to this day) to enforce the executive order.


  • July 2019

OceanaGold files petitions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the local government, both of which were turned down by the Regional Trial Court of Nueva Vizcaya. These court decisions reinforce the legality of the executive order of the provincial government to suspend Oceana’s operations.


  • January 21, 2020

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sends a letter to DENR secretary Roy Cimatu granting authority to the mining company to bring fuel into the mine site, supposedly for dewatering activities of the mine’s project. This letter is cited by the PNP in its dispersal operation.


  • April 6, 2020

Provincial and municipal police escort three fuel tankers and try to disperse the people’s barricade against OceanaGold’s mining site. Community leader Ronaldo Pulido is arrested.

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The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center is the Philippines chapter of Friends of the Earth International. 

LRC is organized and registered as a non-stock, non-profit, non-partisan, cultural, scientific and research organization. Established on December 7, 1987,

it started actual operations in February 1988.

 

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