DIDIPIO VALLEY, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya- Settlers here have been encouraged to venture in agriculture to provide an alternative to the mining industry here.
Librado Villamayor, Community Relations Officer of the New Zealand-based Oceana Gold Mining Company operating in this remote village said the move will provide other means of industry in this realm of central Sierra Madre wilderness.
The Village population has almost doubled since the 2007 census from almost 3,000 to nearly 6,000 settlers, mostly from nearby towns and villages since the strike of the Gold Rush early last year.
Villamayor said the company has supplied local farmers with fertilizers and farm implements to include multi-purposed engine sets, grass cutters, portable sprayers and Lakatan variety banana plants for the community's proposed plantation site here.
He said the grant is part of the social development commitment of the company to uplift the living conditions of the villagers. The Company after establishing the electrification of the village is currently improving the water system.
Oceanagold has been allowed by President Benigo Aquino III despite serious opposition from anti-mining groups in the urban centers. “In large-scale mining, you have more or less an idea of its effect on the environment. They have the capacity to pay for the clean-up among other things,” Aquino explained. The President said the mining permitees with the concurrence of the communities affected are held liable if damage has been done to warrant the revocation of the mining permit.
“We do not want the villagers to be solely dependent on mining operations,” Villamayor said stating the company is also improving the road networks and facilities in the community to further introduce this village to tourism industry for its numerous waterfalls all over the area.