The Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) joins the people of Albay and Sorsogon and other environmental groups in condemning in the highest degree the recent decision of DENR to allow the reopening of La Fayette Mining despite the damages it wrought to the rich fishing ground of the area and its continuous threat to the people and the environment.
The series of mining disasters (heavy metal contamination in Calancan Bay since 1975, collapse of Maguilaguila Siltation Dam in 1993, and the infamous Boac River Environmental Disaster of 1996) which we experienced in Marinduque due to the irresponsible operation of Placer Dome, Inc (now Barrick, Inc.) and Marcopper Mining Corporation and the inefficiency of the government’s environment agencies are coming back to us as nightmares when we heard of the cyanide spill in Rapu-rapu.
But even more painful for us, Marinduqueños, is our unending quest for environmental justice which brought us to Nevada, USA to file charges against Placer Dome for dumping its responsibilities for the clean-up of the impacted environment and ecosystems, for the treatment of children whose blood were contaminated with heavy metals, and for the rehabilitation of the mining structures left unmaintained in the mine site (which now pose more dangers to the lives and properties of the people) especially now that Marinduque was confirmed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as the number one province in the country that is highly susceptible to landslides.
Similarly, the quest for justice of the people of Albay and Sorsogon fell into deaf ears and callous consciences of the people in government who vowed to uphold the Constitution, the highest law of the land which guaranteed the people’s right to a balance and safe environment. We reiterate the recommendations of the Bastes Commission, which calls on the government, among others, to impose a moratorium on mining in Rapu-rapu island, and to immediately repeal the Mining Act of 1995.
No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Hoise of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venecia, former DENR Secretary Michael Defensor and DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes, in a closed-door meeting on March 10, 2006 with some of the Philippine Bishops, including our Bishop Reynaldo G. Evangelista, promised to have an immediate review of the said law. But nothing was heard of since then. Is this a mere ploy to appease the growing disappointment of the CBCP to the present administration as can be gleaned from the January 29, 2006 CBCP Pastoral Letter questioning the provisions of the said law?
Myke R. Magalang
Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns