People of Didipio Face Increasing Pressure from Philippines Government

The bad new is that the repressive tactics of Philippine National Police are increasingly violent against the Indigenous people of Didipio who are trying to prevent further demolitions of their homes by the mining company, OceanaGold Philippines, Inc (OGPI). A mobile unit of the National Police is now stationed inside the offices of OGPI, clearing signaling the people that their government stands with the mining company and against them. 

On October 2, when Didipio people gathered together to prevent house demolitions, the National Police used truncheons, shields and tear gas to disperse them. The mining company has installed illegal checkpoints in Didipio, intimidating the Indigenous residents and causing delays and frustrations as they go about their daily business. At some checkpoints they are asked to sign registers. OceanaGold Philippines has also erected illegal fences that prevent families and farmers from accessing water for irrigation and household use.
 
Now some good news: On October 13, a delegation of human rights organizations met with the Chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights, where the Didipio people had filed a series of complaints.  The delegation asked the Chairperson for her urgent attention to the situation in Didipio. She agreed to make her first personal visit to Didipio before the end of October and to issue an official Human Rights Commission report with recommendations to the president by mid-November.
 
We can hope, with the Indigenous people of Didipio, that the Commission’s report will strongly condemn human rights violations in Didipio by the National Police and by OceanaGold Philippines and demand an immediate halt to the mining operations. 
 
We can also act on behalf of the Indigenous people of Didipio by generating a flood of letters to the country’s president. The timing is perfect. When the president receives the Human Rights Commission report, she will also be receiving hundreds of letters from citizens around the globe, urging her to enforce the rights of Didipio’s Indigenous people and protect Didipio’s forests, rivers and agricultural resources from further damage from mining.
 
If you haven’t yet sent a letter to the president, please do this now. Thank you for joining in this campaign.

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