MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Cec Statement On Lafayette's Raps

Published by MAC on 2007-07-11
Source: CEC

CEC Statement on Lafayette's raps

11th July 2007

A local daily reported that Lafayette Philippines filed libel raps against the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC – Phils). Among the statements that Lafayette was said to deem libelous were our assertions that the company "engaged in the illicit sale of the Philippine natural resources, had been deceitful in reporting its production, epitomized irresponsible mining, and had caused fish kills and various ailments in the community."

Let it be known, that we from the CEC – Phils are most ready to face the charges, and at this point, already plead not guilty. We stand by our statements, duly-supported as they are by no less than the findings of the Rapu-Rapu Fact-Finding Commission (RRFFC), which President Arroyo herself convened following public outrage.

In our campaign against the polymetallic project in Rapu-rapu, we have always referred to the RRFFC's findings and recommendations to support our calls to stop the mining operations in the island. In fact, it was the RRFFC which noted that Lafayette's project epitomized irresponsible mining and greed for profit – as shown in their violation of 10 of 29 conditions of its Environmental Compliance Certificate to environmental laws, anomalies in their tax payments, and more importantly, their insensitivity to the suffering of the Rapu-rapu folk, who continue to live in extreme poverty.

Naturally, Lafayette did not attempt to sue the RRFFC. Instead, it was keen on harassing us, a non-government organization which promotes people-oriented, patriotic, scientific, progressive and sustainable environmental advocacy. We had earned their ire for showing sound scientific evidence of the destructive impact of mining operations in Rapu-rapu, including geophysical characteristics of the island which render it a high-risk area for mining. Moreover, studies of the Institute for Environmental Conservation and Research, and of AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People), reveal that Rapu-rapu has a fragile ecosystem with hilly terrains and steep slopes, and massive sulfide rocks capable of generating sulfuric acid. Also, Rapu-rapu is vulnerable to landslide due to loosened soil and tailings resulting from the mining project.

Hence, amid the efforts of Lafayette to clear its otherwise ugly name, we shall continue to condemn transnational mining corporations who exploit the country's mineral resources, at the expense of the people and the environment. Finally, we will continue to condemn the principal authors of the Mining Act of 1995 and their cohorts in the DENR, who have allowed the plunder of our natural resources and the sale of our national patrimony.

We welcome the said libel suit, and we see it as an opportunity to continue exposing the consequences of destructive mining in Rapu-rapu that the government, neglected when it allowed the company to resume operations.

Lafayette's legal efforts cannot thwart us. Instead, we are all the more inspired to fight for the people and the environment. Together with the Filipino people, the Center for Environmental Concerns shall continue to struggle for a mining policy that will truly benefit the Filipino people and support national progress.

Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines, Inc. (CEC)
No.26 Matulungin St., Bgy. Central Quezon City, Philippines 1100
TelefaxNo. +632-9209099,+632-9248756

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