EACH Rapu-Rapu resident stands to gain only 2 pesos per day for the seven-year duration of the Lafayette Phil. mining project, contrary to the Australian company’s claim that mining will enrich the island’s 30,000 people, according to a socioeconomic report commissioned by the Greenpeace environment group.
The study, titled ”Fool’s Gold,” showed that the economic benefit to be expected from the mining operations in the 5,000-hectate island would amount to only 6,092 pesos for each villager for seven years.
The financial benefit for Rapu-Rapu itself from Lafayette’s operation was only 176.6 million pesos representing the local government share of revenues, labor income, and social development fund.
The study was conducted from April to May by RiskAsia Consulting.
”This is a losing proposition for the province,” Greenpeace campaigns director Von Hernandez told a press conference Thursday.
He said the national government and the Rapu-Rapu local government were selling out the island’s natural resources in exchange for a measly 2 peso-benefit to the people.
”Normally in the Philippines, mining companies just walk away after mining operations”¦ The environmental guaranty fund is not commensurate to the environmental damage. We’re making sacrificial zones with this,” Hernandez said.
Based on interviews with fisherfolk from the surrounding municipalities of Bacon, Prieto-Diaz, and Gubat, the province of Sorsogon suffered monthly losses of about 370 million pesos from the fish scare caused by the twin Lafayette mine spills in October 2005.
The computation was however based on a high production volume, with optimum participation of all fishermen in the area. The study also noted that the low fish stock was also caused by illegal fishing practices.
”The biggest problem for the Rapu-Rapu LGU is its weak financial capacity and its high dependence on the IRA,” the study said.
Actual revenues generated by the local government last year amounted to only 2.5 million pesos from fishery rental fees, business tax, community tax, real property tax, permit fees, and other incomes.