Greenpeace Statement on the Rapu Rapu Factfinding Commission Report

Press release - May 19, 2006
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis said:

"Today the Rapu Rapu Factfinding Commission, the body established via Executive Order 145 to investigate the mining spills from the operations of Lafayette Philippines, Inc., submitted their final report to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The Commission found both Lafayette and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) liable for pollution and other environmental and social problems the mine has caused in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon. Therefore, the Commission recommended canceling the licenses of Lafayette Mine in Rapu Rapu and a moratorium on all mining at Rapu Rapu.

"Greenpeace lauds the Commission for upholding environmental integrity

and social justice over short term economic benefits alleged by Australian firm Lafayette. We hope President Arroyo will listen to the clamour of the people of Albay and Sorsogon to decide to keep the mines in Rapu Rapu closed as the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts to the communities far outweigh the alleged benefits."

"It was clear early on that the Rapu Rapu mine was an ill-conceived project, putting the area's precious marine environment at risk from toxic mine waste and siltation, and being located in an area where typhoons frequently occur and geologic hazards exist."

"Now that the Commission concluded on the failures of Lafayette and the risk for people and the environment, the communities can now move forward. However, moving forward will be meaningless without exacting full accountability from Lafayette and erring government officials. Urgent action must be taken to ensure that Lafayette, under the strict supervision of an independent team of experts, clean up and rehabilitate the mine site and surrounding marine environment so that continuing  damage is prevented."

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia; +63 917 8036077 Lea Guerrero, Media Officer, Greenpeace Southeast Asia; + 63 916 3744969