The RRFFC report was criticized by Carlos G. Dominguez, who heads the company’s new Filipino management, saying that the report was unscientific.
The commission recommended that the ore content of the island be analyzed to prove their findings. But Dominguez allegedly argued there was no need for that.
Ricardo Saturay Jr, a geology instructor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP-Diliman) and a member of the Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan (Agham or Organization of Scientists Promoting Science and Technology for the People) explained that it is important to analyze the ore content of the island to check for chemical imbalances in other minerals. He said that mining operations can activate the toxicity of other minerals even if it has not been contaminated by toxins yet.
Meanwhile, Dr. Romy Quijano, a professor at the College of Medicine in UP Manila, said that there is no exception to the hazards mining operations like that in Rapu-Rapu bring.
“Ang tanong na lang ay kung gaano kalala ang epekto nito,” (The question merely is how bad are the effects of these.) he said.
He added that simple pulverization of rocks causes a health hazard, much more in mining, which uses toxic heavy metals like lead and arsenic.
He also said that the ill effects of mining on the people need not be proven by laboratory tests. Prolonged exposure to mining operations causes certain illnesses even if mining companies refuse to acknowledge it.
“Gaano man kalalim ang tailings pond nila, mapupuno at aapaw ‘yun at gaya ng lahat ng nangyayari sa halos lahat ng mga minahan sa bansa,” (No matter how deep their tailing ponds are. It will eventually be filled up and will overflow as what happens in almost all mining operations in the country.) he said.
Unfortunately, there is no hope if the people relies on the legislative branch to pursue their struggle against mining companies, said Virador.
“Walang batas ang naipapasa na di certified ng Executive branch,” (No law are passed without the certification of the executive branch.) he said, adding that the prospect of having the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 repealed in Congress is dim because the current administration favors mining companies.
“Whatever the thrust of the Executive, the Legislative branch will implement,” he lamented.
Virador called on the people to expand their arena of struggle by lobbying against mining operations in their own localities.
Instead of calling for the repeal of the mining law, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that what should be done is to think “how we can develop mining to provide jobs and income for our people.”
For Bugauisan, this reveals where the sympathy of government officials lies.
“They will say something good of course at dito lalabas kung para kanino ba sila,” he said, “They are not for the people… actually, sila ang nakikinabang.” (What they say reveals who they favor. They are not for the people…actually they benefit from these mining operations.)
Bugauisan said that they will continue the fight against mining operations even if all government officials favor mining companies.
“Sinasabi ng iba na pilay na ang Lafayette pero lulumpuhin pa natin s’ya,” the priest said, “Ang laban dito ay legitimate kaya no compromise at all.” (They say that we have crippled Lafayette but will totally disable it. Our struggle is legitimate and there is no room for compromises.) (Bulatlat.com)