Today, women leaders from the Indigenous Peoples of Barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Viscaya oppose the series of water permit applications filed by North Luzon Sustainable Development Corporation (NLSDC), an affiliate of OceanaGold Phils. for its mining operations.
Today, they filed a Protest with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to defend their prior vested rights over the utilization of waters sources in their community. The women leaders assert that they have been using for at least thirty (30) years the water that come from the natural springs for drinking, washing, bathing, cooking, watering of vegetable gardens and animals and other domestic uses.
NLSDC’s first application will directly affect the farmlands and vegetable plantations of farmers as they plan to divert and utilize the waters from rivers in Didipio for mining operations. The plan poses a big threat to farmers as this would deprive them of water to their farms. Moreover, discharged contaminated water from the mine processing plants will adversely affect the quality of water in the rivers citing animal, human, and environmental hazards.
They also add, NLSDC’s three other water permit applications for domestic use is completely unnecessary because water supply from the natural springs is safe, sufficient and adequate. Barangay Didipio has an existing water system, managed and maintained by the barangay council for effective and equitable distribution of water for the whole community. They are using a simple water impoundment (embankment) system that supplies water to houses thru hoses attached to it.
Like all other typical rural communities, women members of the family usually attend to domestic chores. They find that the mining operation poses a big threat to their everyday life. They fear, among others, that as a result of mining operations and the extraction process that requires huge volume of water, their water supply coming from natural springs shall be depleted.
Water is Life, and water as a natural resource, should be allocated in the interest and beneficial use of a far greater number of people. To allow OceanaGold to use water for its mine operations in Didipio will definitely deprive the community of an adequate water supply and lead to the contamination and pollution of the waters. Experience proves that mine waste effectively destroys every single lifeform it touches. The major rivers of Mogpog and Boac in Marinduque are still considered dead as of today eleven (11) years after the Marcopper Mine disaster in 1996 when mine tailings (waste) leaked and flooded into the rivers.
Moreover, NLSDC has not obtained the necessary local government consent from the affected LGUs, in violation of Sections 2 (c), 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
NLSDC’s water permit application for mining purposes and the construction of a dam and tunnel across private lands, most of which are crop land, clearly falls under the enumeration of the projects requiring prior consultation and local government consent under the Local Government Code.
Ronald A. Gregorio
Luzon Regional Office
87 B Madasalin St., Teachers Village
telefax: +63 2 434-4079
mobile: +63 917 544 1040