THE Nueva Vizcaya Police on Wednesday, April 7, said the entry of fuel tankers in the vicinity of a mining site in Barangay Didipio, Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya was sanctioned by the local officials.
In a statement, the Nueva Vizcaya Police Office said they received an order dated March 13 to provide necessary assistance to ensure the unhampered arrival of the tankers.
This includes the deployment of civil disturbance management teams, route and area security, investigators, arresting team, convert security and negotiators.
“This deployment may be overwhelming to some but it is in accordance with the Police Operational Procedures in order to cover every single aspect of the activity,” the police said.
The police made the statement following the spread of a video which showed the dispersal of residents blocking the entry of the fuel tankers owned by the Australian-Canadian mining company Oceanagold.
On April 6, 2020, the provincial director of the Nueva Vizcaya provincial police office conferred with the province’s governor, who approved the passage of the fuel tank trucks on certain conditions such as allowing the barangay to monitor the usage of fuel and prohibiting the company from dispensing fuel without the presence of barangay officials.
Before the arrival of the tankers, the chief of police of Kasibu had a dialogue with Barangay Captain Ereneo Bobola and Kagawad Celia Bahag. They agreed that the said delivery will be approved for the time being as it was already conditionally approved by the governor and the mayor.
It said Bobola explained to his constituents the entry of the tankers to prevent any untoward incidents.
At around 5:30 in the afternoon, the fuel trucks arrived but these were blocked by a few members of the community.
“The police once again tried to have a dialogue with them to allow the passage of said tankers, however, they did not accede,” the police said.
The police then tried to disperse the residents who blocked the entry of the fuel trucks.
One of them, Roland Pulido, chairman of Didipio Earth Saver’s Movement Association (Desama), was arrested after he crawled under one of the tank trucks to prevent its entry.
He was charged for disobedience.
“Contrary to claims, no violence was intentionally used and that maximum tolerance was employed by all tasked PNP personnel as can be seen at the videos that were already uploaded by netizens,” the police said.
“It is not the intent of the PNP to support or go against any mining activity as we stand on neutral grounds. The said incident took place emanating from the implementation of a legal order,” it added.
Since July 2019, the local government, together with the Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK) and the United People of Kasibu Nueva Vizcaya agreed to prevent the further illegal operation of Oceanagold which financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) has already expired in June 2019 but continued to operate until October last year. (SunStar Philippines)