MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Statement of the People of Marinduque on Placer Dome

Published by MAC on 2002-01-24

His statement was drafted by Boac Councilor Mike Magalang and signed by the attendees of the Marinduqueno community's dialogue with the Philippine Environment Department on Jan. 24, 2002. The Marinduque communities wish to bring this to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's agenda with the Canadian goverment today, Jan. 29. 2002


January 24, 2002

CANADA is the home of Placer Dome Incorporated (PDI), 39.9% owner of Marcopper Mining Corporation, one of the largest copper mining companies in Asia-Pacific Region, located in the Island Province of Marinduque, The Philippines.

PDI was directly involved in the over-all operations of the Marcopper mines during the mining disaster of March 24, 1996. The havoc wrought on Boac River by the deluge of contaminated mine tailings is unprecedented in the history of our country. No monetary consideration can be an adequate compensation for the death of Boac River and its dire effects on the life of the people. The initial efforts of PDI to make amend to the victims are people. The initial efforts of PDI to make amend to the victims are insignificant and pale in comparison with real magnitude of the problem when viewed from the standpoint of the long-term effects of the catastrophe.

Early this year, despite PDI's standing unilateral commitment of taking the full responsibility of restoring Boac River and compensating the damages to people's livelihood (April and July 1996 Letter of Commitment of PDI CEO John Wilson to then President Fidel V. Ramos), like a thief in the night, it unceremoniously pulled out its operations and left the Philippines without the basic courtesy of informing us, the stakeholders, and worse, without fulfilling their commitment to the Marinduqueños.

We, therefore, call on the Canadian Government to rethink its policy of extending official development assistance to poor countries like ours while its foreign companies like Placer Dome take with their right hand what their mother country gives with its left. We cannot reconcile the policy of the Canadian Government of strictly enforcing environmental laws yet allowing its foreign companies, specifically Placer Dome, to disregard environmental laws of their host countries.

We appeal to the conscience of the stockholders and the Canadian People to not allow their foreign companies like Placer Dome to use their hard-earned money as instrument of deceit and sufferings of women and children, and means of plundering the environment of poor countries.

Unless and until Placer Dome fulfill its commitment to the Marinduqueños and the Filipino people and Boac River receives its clean bill of health from the authorities and the stakeholders, we will continue to question Placer Dome's image, Integrity and reputation before the International mining community. Six years have been long enough. We request nothing more than respect for our right to clean environment and respect for our patrimony. We demand that Placer Dome fulfill its commitment to the Filipino people.

In time for her official visit to Canada, using taxpayers' money, we call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to intercede on our behalf and bring before the Canadian Government our legitimate demands!

Signed by:-

Marinduque Council for Environmental Concern (MACEC)
Municipal Council of Boac
Municipal Mayor Roberto Madla of Boac, Marinduque
Monsignor Senen Malapad, Social Action Center Director
Melanio Maac, Chair , Alliance of Barangay Captains, Mogpog
Adeline Angeles, Provincial Board Member
Lerma Mascarinas, Barangay Captain of Bamban, Boac
Pastora Laraquel, Barangay Captain of Villamendez, Mogpog
Lorico Monreal, Barangay Captain, Mataas na Batan, Mogpog
Arman, Mayores, Barangay Councilor of Tampus, Boac
Abigail Mataya, Youth Representative, Sumangga, Mogpog
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KSK)
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)

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