Model Letter in Support of Indigenous Communities of Didipio

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President 
Republic of the Philippines 
Malacanang Palace 
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel 
Manila 1005 PHILIPPINES 
Fax: +63 2 736 1010 
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph 
 
Atty. Eugenio A. Insigne, Chairman  
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) 
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building, 
Cor. West and Quezon Avenues, 
Quezon City, Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES 
Fax: +63 2 373-97-65 
Email: eugenioinsigne@ncip.gov.ph or resource@ncip.gov.ph 

Honorable Madam President and Mr. Insigne, 

I wish to congratulate you on your country’s exemplary legislation which recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent. While I recognize and value your leadership in this legislative arena, I am dismayed by reports that the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act is not being implemented as it was intended – to effectively defend and promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples throughout the Philippines. 

I am specifically concerned about the plight of the Indigenous Peoples who live in Didipio, Kasibu municipality, Nueva Vizcaya province. They were never appropriately informed and consulted prior to the initiation of mining operations there. They did not give their consent for the current activities of OceanaGold Philippines Inc., which has destroyed productive rice and vegetable fields, razed homes, forced their relocation without offering adequate alternative lands, affected their water supply, and created an atmosphere of violence, discord, intimidation and fear throughout the region. Your government’s military response has served to protect the miners, not the residents of Didipio.  

Since both the elected Didipio and Kasibu councils have opposed the OGPI mine since 2002, this company has not gained the local acceptance required by law, and it should not be allowed to continue its operations in Didipio.  

The recently released “Concluding Observations of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)” requests specific actions of your government, and I urge you to take immediate steps to address these.  I further support Indigenous Peoples’ petitions to create an independent body to hear and act on complaints of violations of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. 

Please take immediate actions to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Didipio, to halt the operations of OGPI, and to safeguard the Didipio region’s natural resources. I ask this with the deepest regard for you, your country and its peoples. 

Sincerely, 

YOUR NAME

YOUR ADDRESS