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PIA Press Release

NVizcaya bishop praises PGMA for swift stoppage of mining exploration

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya (September 4) -- Bishop Ramon Villena of the diocese here and in Quirino province recently thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the immediate stoppage of the mining exploration in Kasibu town.

The bishop said he personally went to meet Arroyo to ask her intervention on the mining exploration of the Australian Oxiana Philippines, Inc.(OPI) which has been perennially blocked by anti-mining villagers in barangay Pao in Kasibu town.

"I thank the President for acting on the situation which is highly critical and explosive," he said over the church-ran DWRV radio station here.

The bishop said the entry of OPI's equipments which has been blocked by human barricade of the villagers in barangay Pao should have been marred by violence due to the tension and possible agitation of both the anti and pro mining groups.

The bishop also thanked the Philippine National Police(PNP) for securing the area for almost three weeks now.

"Blood should have been flowed if not for the intervention of the President. I thanked her for listening to what I was telling her that no human life should suffer for the sake of development," he said.

The bishop added that human dignity of the villagers who is composed of indigenous people should be respected.

He said the mining firm should focus on exhausting the benefits of a dialogue which is anchored on free, prior and informed consent of the affected villagers and communities under the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act or IPRA law.

Villena also thanked DENR secretary Lito Atienza for acting to stop the exploration of OPI.

OPI's exploration covers barangays Pao, Kakiduguen, Pacquet, Dine and Catarawan in Kasibu town. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]

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