MAC: Mines and Communities

Lafayette Files Libel Raps Vs Ecology Group

Published by MAC on 2007-07-11
Source: Tribune ()

Lafayette files libel raps vs ecology group

Tribune - http://www.tribune.net.ph/business/20070711bus2.html

11th July 2007

Australian mining giant [sic] unit Lafayette Philippines sued yesterday an anti-mining group and its key officers for libel, saying, "Their brand of irresponsible and unprincipled advocacy employed a systematic pattern of lies and hate-mongering to pressure the government to close down the company."

"We are taking this unprecedented defensive measure to protect the company and the thousands of people we employ directly and indirectly, and to force these anti-mining groups to be a positive force through a moral, honest, and responsible advocacy," Lafayette president Carlos Dominguez said.

Included in the complaint filed before the Pasig City Prosecutor's Office were the trustees of the Center for Environmental Concerns Inc. and its executive director, Frances Quimpo, who, for almost two years running, insisted on allegations that had long been proved as a hoax and unscientific.

The company is seeking P10 million in damages which it plans to use as a scholarship fund for deserving Rapu-Rapu students to secure advanced degrees in environmental management and protection.

The company is also preparing similar complaints against radical groups, including a Rapu-Rapu Island resident who even flew to Melbourne just to distribute anti-Lafayette handouts to the company's bankers.

"These groups want Bicol region's biggest investor and job creator to close down under the guise of protecting the environment. Some of them have even gone as low as telling the Rapu-Rapu residents that they are better off as poor fishermen than have the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project around," he said.

Dominguez said the anti-mining advocates succeeded last year in making people believe that the company caused a mercury spill off the coast of Sorsogon, across the sea from Rapu Rapu, the project's location. He said the company does not use mercury at all.

"It took us months to clear our name with the help of independent scientific groups. But the worst injury of the mercury hoax was on the 5,000 Sorsogon fishermen who could not sell their catch. The poor got poorer and more desperate, while the miscreants got away," he said.

Dominguez said this should not be the case because responsible NGOs (non-government organizations) have a big role to play especially in monitoring as the country becomes a major mining player in the region.

CEC, in its various handouts and campaigns, had accused the company of "engaging in the illicit sale of Philippine natural resources," being "deceitful in reporting its production," "epitomize(s) irresponsible mining," "causing fish kills" and causing various ailments in the community that doctors said came from poverty and poor hygiene.

Clemente Bautista
National Coordinator
Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com Website: www.kalikasan.org

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