Ask the the five barangay captains who each issued certification that there was no fish kill in their barangays. You know to whom they addressed the certification? To the DENR investigating team who first used it in their report? No. To the Municipal Council? No. To the Mayor then? No. To the Lafayette headquarters in Rapu-Rapu? Yes!
Ask Rapu-Rapu Mayor Dick Galicia who will do anything just so the fish kill won't be linked to Lafayette, from denying any fish kill to have happened, to accusing the Vice-Mayor of perpetrating it, to not declaring a state of emergency in Rapu-Rapu so as not to imply that residents are dying of hunger due to the fish kill.
Ask Albay Provincial Board Members who would rather discuss their's & their staff's bonuses, small-town lottery, & other 'urgent' matters, than listening to the complaints of Rapu-Rapu residents who camped outside the capitol for more than a week last December.
Ask Albay BM Celso Aytona who shooed away Rapu-Rapu residents at a Committee on Environment hearing on the fish kill, saying that their advocacy was anti-Lafayette, & therefore, had nothing to do with the agendum his committee was discussing at that time.
Yup, Lafayette certainly has no problem establishing ties with our LGUs here. Lafayette already have them tied by their necks.
Strengthen ties with LGUs, mine companies urged
By Daxim Lucas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:02am (Mla time) 01/14/2008
FOREIGN-OWNED mining firms operating in the Philippines are expected to remain the favourite targets of insurgents and bandits as more mines enter the production phase, an Israeli security expert warned.
More importantly, mining firms should put up a more comprehensive plan that involves not only beefing up their security forces but also taking a proactive stance vis-a-vis the communities in which they operate.
This recommendation comes as the government pledged more troops and police to secure mine sites following a New Year's Day attack by the New People's Army on an Australian mining firm in Tampakan, South Cotabato .
"It is not enough to just have more [security] guards," said Josef Gueta, who is a director of Makati-based Business Profiles Inc. (BPI). "Companies need a plan that involves all aspects of the operation."
He said the common mistake made by many foreign mining operators in the country was to rely too much on military or police forces to protect the physical infrastructure at their mine sites.
The main weakness of this tack, he explained, is that military and police forces are already spread too thinly in most areas, preventing them from giving full attention to many mining firms.
Gueta, who has had extensive security consulting experience in the country since 1990, said it is not enough for miners to simply "throw money at the local communities" especially since this encourages a frame of mind of mendicancy among the local population.
"What mining firms need is to hire development managers who will look at the actual, and not just the perceived, needs of the communities," he said.
Failure to do so often results to a mismatch of the mining firm's ideas versus the sentiment felt on the ground in the community--a mismatch which he believes contributed to last week's attack by the New People's Army on the base camp of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) in Tampakan, South Cotabato .
The stand of the consulting firm jibes with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza's view that security-related delays in the operations of mining firms are caused by their failure to sufficiently engage the local population.
Specifically, Atienza said in a recent interview that some mining firms fail to dialogue with local government units (LGUs) and take into account the needs of the communities where they operate--a failure that leads to broad resentment and dissatisfaction that, in turn, encourages insurgent attacks.
The New Year's Day attack on SMI's facilities follows similar "punitive actions" by the NPA last year on foreign miners in Camarines Sur and Surigao del Norte, all of which involve attacks of 100 fighters or more, according to BPI security risk analyst Luz Bolo.
Both SMI and Australia 's Lafayette Mining Ltd., she said, have received threats from the NPA although the latter enjoys relatively better protection, being located on an island that is difficult to ingress and egress from.
"They have a list of Canadian and Australian firms which they will attack," she explained, pointing out that locally owned mining operations have so far been attacked. "Their main stand is 'no to mining' but we see that this is mainly about money."
Gueta explained that since the NPA endears itself to the local population by taking on a "Robin Hood" image, mining firms can undermine this strategy by beating the rebels at their own game, and directly helping the communities in which they operate.
"But for this to work, the company should know how to involve every aspect of their operations in the plan," he said. "This is not just the security department working, but also those in operations, community relations and even human resources."
"Securing mine sites in the Philippines is a long-term commitment," he added.