Philippines: Groups urge international banks: Stop Funding Destructive Mining Projects

Environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and Church people picketed the Australian New Zealand (ANZ) Bank office in Makati City demanding that the bank withdraw its funding from what they call a destructive mining project.

The ANZ, the fourth largest bank in Australia, and HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services organizations, are the major funders of the OceanaGold Corporation (OGC) Didipio Gold-Copper mining project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

Both banks also hold nominee accounts as OGC’s major stockholders. Testing the idea of yesterday.

The protesters symbolically launched their international campaign against the said project by submitting to the bank a petition supported by various organizations from the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

The petition is demanding for ANZ and HSBC to pull out from the Didipio mining project.

Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, said, “It would not be agreeable for ANZ and HSBC to be known as supporters of projects which have caused massive environmental degradation and human rights violations. These offenses run contrary to their claims of socially and environmentally responsible banking norms.”

The group said that they have already gathered 495 signatures in a week’s time, mostly from the Philippines and Australia.

Himpad Mangumalas, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP, Federation of Indigneous People’s Organizations in the Philippines), said, “They should withdraw support to Oceana Gold as a gesture of adherence to international humanitarian laws. Their continued financial backing to the mining company reflects tolerance to rights abuses.”

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