Environmental destruction persists amid lockdown

Environmental and Conservation group Earth Island Institute Philippines said today that environmental destruction continues in the midst of the Enhanced Community Quarantine. This after around 100 PNP personnel, in full riot gear, dispersed some 30 community demonstrators, saying that they have a letter coming from Malacañang signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, to escort the entry of two petroleum tankers to the mining site.

“This is highly condemnable, while the country is on lockdown, it is the sole duty of the National Government to secure our islands, ensure that our environment is not plundered or destroyed. Unfortunately, it’s the other way around”, Earth Island Institute Campaign Officer Mark Louie Aquino said in a press statement.

The Philippine National Police arrested Mr. Roland Pulido of the Didipio Earth Savers Movement Association (DESAMA) in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya after he led the barricade against the continued operation of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc., an Australian-Canadian Mining Company.

“Instead of preventing the movement of people, the government security forces must also do their job by enforcing restrictions on mining, logging, reclamations, and other environmentally destructive projects during this pandemic,” Aquino added.

Various environmental groups led by Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano Para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK) and the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya has set up a barricade to cease the mining operations of Oceana Gold after its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) had expired last June 2019. However, the mining company is circumventing the law by insisting on its mining operations. Oceana Gold’s alleged grave violations against the people of Nueva Vizcaya were people’s right to livelihood, the right to clean water, human rights and destruction of the environment.

“We call on the National Government to seriously implement environmental protection policies without exemptions or VIP treatment. Do not use this Pandemic to further exploit the situation and destroy the environment.” Aquino ended.

(Photo from Mong Palatino’s blog published at Global Voices)

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