MAC: Mines and Communities

Bicolanos Protest Renewed Mining Operations In Albay

Published by MAC on 2006-04-21
Source: Manila Times

Bicolanos protest renewed mining operations in Albay

Rhaydz B. Barcia, Manila Times -

21st April 2006

LEGAZPI city: Multisectoral organizations across the Bicol region have joined forces to oppose the resumption of mining by Lafayette Philippines Inc. in Rapu-Rapu, Albay, next month.

The protesters regrouped Thursday at the Peñaranda Park here and want to the regional office of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources where they protested the resumption of polymetallic mining in the coastal town of Rapu-Rapu.

Fr. Fedelino “Ino” Bogaoisan, assistant parish priest of Santa Florentina Parish here, the Sagip Isla movement and other environmentalist groups said they will camp out at the DENR premises for two days.

“We will fight to the fullest to save the people of Rapu-Rapu and the environment,” Bogaoisan told The Manila Times.

Last month Bogaoisan and Sagip Isla led a protest from the town proper of Rapu-Rapu to Binosawan and nearby areas demanding that the Australian mining conglomerate leave the town.

Joselito “Sarge” Sarmiento, director and corporate secretary of Lafayette Philippines Inc., said that the new management, led by Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, will comply with all the safety measures set by the government.

“We would like to reiterate to the Bicolanos and the government that the new management will adopt the most modern technology to ensure the protection of the environment, and most especially the people,” Sarmiento said.

Rep. Jose Solis of Sorsogon told the management of Lafayette not to resume operations until after the investigation conducted by the House of Representatives.

Solis, chairman of the House Committee on the Environment, vowed to push through with the investigation when Congress resumes its regular session.

Members of the Albay provincial board are also set to visit the mining firm next week to find out its capability to protect the health of the residents if the DENR allows it to operate.

The Lafayette Philippines Inc. has been subject of controversy following two consecutive toxic spillages that caused a series of fishkills. The fishkills have greatly harmed the livelihood of poor fishermen in Rapu-Rapu, the municipalities of Bacon, Prieto Diaz, Barcelona and nearby areas in Sorsogon.

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