LEGAZPI CITY (31 Oct 2011) – Bicol environmental group PANGATAMAN-Bikol (Center for Environmental Protection) today commemorated the Rapu-Rapu Toxic Spill anniversary in 2005 caused by the Lafayette Mining Corporation. According to Engr. Virgilio S. Perdigon Jr. vice-president for external affairs of the group this horrific toxic spill resulted to the second fish kill in the area and caused an extreme decline in fish catch of fishermen. It was so vast that even the fish sanctuary in Sito Gaba, Batan, Rapu-Rapu was not able to sustain the fish population in Albay Gulf. This indicates something terribly wrong with the water quality itself,”
“What we fear now is that the same thing may happen in Matnog, Sorsogon as there is a rampant and destructive mining operation in the area. It is not far off that the disaster that happened in Rapu-rapu will again be repeated in Matnog and her are the facts:
“Based on Lafayette’s application, Rapu-Rapu’s total land area of 5, 589 hectares, 4, 486.48 hectares or 80.3% of its total land area will be dug up. Also Rapu-Rapu’s large scale mining operation was hailed as the flagship project and among the 24 Priority Development Projects of the former Arroyo administration and Lafayette’s full mining operation took off in 2005 through its two Rapu-Rapu based companies which are Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc. (RRMI) and Rapu-Rapu Processing Inc., (RRPI),”the environmentalist added.
“On the other hand, Matnog, Sorsogon Mining under Thomas Ranola applied for small scale mining operation covering Baranggays Sinalmacan, Poropandan, Culasi and Poblacion with 742.0854 hectares. While Peniel Resources Mining Corporation exploration application for magnetite sand and other related minerals covered 12, 616 hectares covering municipalities of Matnog, Bulusan, Magdalena and Bulan,” said the engineer.
“We are now commemorating our departed loves ones but we must also remember what happened in Rapu-Rapu island due to Lafayette mining and learn from it because in the long run it will not only cause fish kills but will take the lives and livelihood of our loved ones as well,” ended Perdigon.