Monday, February 2, 2015

Marinduque stakeholders on Barrick in solidarity with US protest rally

The initiative of environmental activists from Nevada to highlight the lawsuit filed in 2005 by the provincial government of Marinduque against Barrick Gold through a protest rally in Las Vegas, where the case goes for oral arguments tomorrow, did not go unnoticed by the municipality of Boac, Marinduque.

Through a resolution on motion of councilor Miguel "Myke" Magalang, and unanimously approved, the municipal council of Boac has expressed gratitude and solidarity with the environmental group, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), the Coalition for Nevada's Wildlife and other civil society organizations participating in tomorrow's protest, February 3.





In the resolution, the municipal government also stressed that earlier consultations with the provincial government and local stakeholders established that Canada is the "more acceptable and favorable venue to continue to hear the merits of the case against Placer Dome, Inc. and Barrick Gold Corporation".

The question of finding the more appropriate legal forum came about after the complete rejection by the province of the unjust and unacceptable proposed settlement agreement offered by the mining company.


In a bizarre twist, however, contrary to an understanding by all concerned stakeholders to fully explore the possibility of engaging pro-bono Canadian lawyers, an appeal was instead filed by the US legal counsel before the court for the case to stay in Nevada or be dismissed in favor of re-filing in the Philippines. 


It will be recalled that on the proposed deal, the same legal counsel had dared the province after prolonged period of consultations to "take it or leave it". After its resounding rejection he then held the position as conveyed by his 'expert witness' during such consultation with stakeholders that "Canada's jurisprudence no longer allows the filing of lawsuits for cases that did not happen in Canada". 


This did not sit well with some local officials and environmental groups who wondered which of the contending parties the said lawyer might really be representing.


The municipal government alongside the Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), has likewise requested the Nevada environmental group to amplify and reiterate this stance of the Marinduque people during the protest rally and news conference "as time and space make it impossible for this august body to articulate its concerns before the Nevada Supreme Court".



Environmental activists in Manila signify their outrage against mining corporations, also highlighting the Marinduque vs. Barrick case during a march to Mendiola in March last year.


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