March 14, 2010

OceanaGold's petition with the Philippine Court of Appeals has been denied for lack of merit. On December 29th, 2009, OceanaGold had filed the petition with the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the order of the Regional Trial Court (lower court) that had restrained the mining company from demolishing the houses of the Indigenous Peoples in Didipio. On February 27th, 2008, the lower court granted the temporary restraining order in favor of the Indigenous Peoples, citing the actions of OceanaGold's demolition of houses as "tainted with irregularity and contrary to law." For nearly two decades, the Indigenous community of Didipio in the Philippines has been fighting to stop a gold and copper mine that threatens their environment, farmlands, and families.

In other relevant developments, there are six Indigenous anti-mining candidates running in the province of Nueva Viscaya in this May’s elections. This includes Manong Peter Duyapat, chairperson of the Didipio Earth Savers Multi-Purpose Association (DESAMA). He is running to become a council member of the municipality of Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya. 

Read more about the Didipio Campaign and Take Action: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/take-action/philippines-stop-mine-indigenous-lands

Read the full press release:

Ifugaos of Didipio Applaud the Denial of OceanaGold’s Petition in Philippine Court

Indigenous Ifugaos of Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya are in a triumphant mood with the recent Court of Appeals’ resolution junking OceanaGold’s petition seeking to annul the Regional Trial Court Branch 30’s decision.

Last December 29, 2009, OceanaGold filed a petition for certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the order of Judge Panay denying the mining company’s motion to dismiss the case lodged at the Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya Regional Trial Court Branch 30. On February, 27th 2008, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bayombong restrained OceanaGold from demolishing the houses of indigenous peoples in the upland village of Didipio. The RTC granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of the indigenous peoples and cited in its decision that OceanaGold's demolition activities are 'tainted with irregularity and contrary to law'.

According to Manong Peter Duyapat Chairperson of Didipio Earth Savers Multi-purpose Association (DESAMA), a delegate to the 2009 convention of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD), and a leader of the resisting Ifugaos in Brgy, Didipio “We are happy upon hearing this decision of the Court of Appeals. This for us is a step closer in making OceanaGold accountable for violating our constitutional rights and depriving us of due process of law.”

The Court of Appeals in its resolution dated February 22, 2010 ‘finds no reason to hold that respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion nor does it see the assailed orders to be patently erroneous to allow petitioner to avail of the extra-ordinary remedy of certiorari’ and ‘DISMISSED’ the petition ‘for lack of merit’.

Gerry Arances, Campaigns Paralegal of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Luzon (LRC-KsK) asserts that “This is a big blow to the mining company because obviously they were so desperately trying to delay and/or have the case dismiss through the Court of Appeals’ intervention.”

“With this decision of the Court of Appeals, OceanaGold will be finally tried for the violent demolition committed against the indigenous Didipio community in 2008,” Arances adds.

“This is indeed a victory of our community. We have long prepared for this trial and we will remain to be vigilant for any move of the mining company to avoid being accountable as it has done time and again,” Manong Peter concludes.

Read more about the Didipio Campaign and Take Action: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/take-action/philippines-stop-mine-indigenous-lands

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