Press Release
February 17, 2006

Press statement of Sen. Jamby Madrigal

As a fellow Bicolana and Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities and Youth, Women and Children, I am visiting today the Island of Rapu Rapu, Albay to determine the deleterious effects of the alleged rampant mining violations there by La Fayette Mining Company.

I have filed Resolution No. 436 to enable the Senate to conduct an investigation on this matter. As an environmentalist and member of the Senate, I have always taken a strong position against mining. Mining is anti-life. The continuing existence of the Mining Law of 1995 is a human rights violation where the State itself perpetuates the step-by-step destruction of not only its environment but also of its people. Many communities have been destroyed and lives lost to satisfy the greed of a few and enrich even fewer. This is outright economic plunder.

The total land area of Rapu Rapu is approximately 5,589 hectares, roughly 80% of 4,486.46 hectares of which are earmarked for mining operations. This is prejudicial to the health, safety and well-being of the people there, particularly our indigenous brothers and sisters - the "Taboys" and the women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of society.

Reports of cases of diarrhea and severe cases of scabies contacted from the beaches so far off such as the Bacon district, Prieto Diaz, Gubat and Barcelona in Sorsogon have been reported. Nobody is eating fish anymore in these areas.

If indeed the island of Rapu-rapu is safe and free from contamination, I challenge the officials of La Fayette and the DENR to eat the fish caught from the waters in the island.

I shall continue to conduct this investigation in the Senate. The voices of the people of Sorsogon and Albay should be heard and justice should be given to them, at any cost.

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