Same issues, different venues. The same lies and underhanded tactics are being used by mining companies in many parts of this country. And where is the DENR in all these? It is busy promoting large-scale mining, at all cost.
Now to nitpicking. It is not true that all anti-mining advocates want a ban on mining per se. This blogger, and the rest of us here, included. Nor are we hypocrites who don't recognize the value, or the necessity even, of extracting heavy metals for industry and human progress.
What we are opposing is the way mining is being done in most parts of the country. "Responsible mining" as it is actually practiced in the Philippines is a sham, a shameful, deceitful propaganda tool for mining companies to profit at grave cost to the environment, and for the present dispensation to project short-term gains for long-term loss.
With its particular geography, location and climate, including the local residents' resistance, large-scale mining should never have been done in Rapu-Rapu, then and now. Add to these, the recidivist corporate character of Lafayette, the measly taxes it is paying, the lack of credible and effective state control and monitoring, and the series of recent fish kills that plagued this small island as soon as the mine started its operations.
All of these point to the inevitable conclusion: Close the Lafayette mine. Save Rapu-Rapu. Save our future.
Sun Star - General Santos City
Saturday, May 24, 2008
THE proposed environmental code, which, if passed into law, would ban open-pit mining in South Cotabato has sparked a bizarre debate over the operations of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), a giant mining venture operated by a Swiss company.
The debate has now gone oddly wild after it peaks towards the savage propaganda continuum. Arguments are advanced in deceitful cleverness, while jargons are carefully crafted to lend certain amount of bliss to what has been widely considered undesirable.
The labelling of certain section in the code that bans open-pit mining as an "anti-investment provision" is undoubtedly the handiwork of expensive psy-war tacticians, astute in the arena of propaganda work.
In sharp contrast, responses from SMI's oppositors are yet to rise above the intellectual thresholds reachable to simpletons. They still continue to give flesh to worn-out concepts, which postulate that precious mineral deposits are created by God merely to forever find solace beneath the earth.
Anti-mining advocates should, by now, deviate from their traditional extremism, if they are to gain public support. They should make themselves instrumental in the development of a concept that strikes a happy balance between environmental preservation and the society's right to make use of all God-given treasures.
Lest we are misunderstood, we want to emphasize here that we fully understand the environmentalists' display of public outrage. Mining is a legitimate environmental issue that cuts across the people's elemental public right to preserve the environment for the enjoyment of future generations.
Today, such right has been warped beyond recognition as the debate on the mining issue goes berserk. Thus, we appeal to SMI to ensure the integrity of the prevailing debate. More than any other entities, it is SMI that has the paramount duty to do this.
It should now stop claiming that open-pit mining is scientifically proven to be environmentally friendly. By doing so, SMI painfully inflicts a wholesale insult upon the intellectual aspirations of the people.
Moreover, SMI's stonewalling on the open-pit mining issue will only trigger massive opposition to its operations. Neither the "buying" of local officials and tribal leaders nor the hiring of expert propagandists to contain or neutralize such opposition could free SMI from its woes.
Such acts can only make SMI's motives a suspect. The people may liken SMI to a burglar who momentarily contains or neutralizes his victims to later run away with his loots, leaving his victims in misery.
The people could easily see through the scheme for this is not alien to the experiences of many mining communities. But, even if the people, by their sheer complacency, will fail to wage direct actions to prevent the emergence of a great injustice, still, SMI has no cause for celebration.
Society has its own natural way of correcting social errors and if it does, during its own appointed time, it is unpreventable.
Thus, the only logical way for SMI to take is to publicly prove that its mining operation could pass the public welfare test, after judiciously balancing the interest of the people and its own.