LAFAYETTE Philippines on Thursday said it was preparing legal action against the environmentalist group Greenpeace for trespassing and is seeking the deportation of three Caucasians who climbed up the company's conveyor belt to unfurl their anti-mining banners for picture taking.
''Greenpeace has gone out of bounds in its irresponsible and counter-productive photo-ops that unfortunately some media outlets fall for. Recently, they misrepresented themselves at the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) head office so they could go up the roof deck so photographers they had in tow could take pictures," said Bayani Agabin, Lafayette legal counsel and spokesperson.
Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee condemned the DENR incident, saying the anti-mining militants have become destructive and must be dealt with accordingly by authorities.
A few weeks ago, unidentified persons poured a huge amount of pesticide into a creek that is the source of clean water for the residents, and started sending out text messages that Lafayette was to blame, Lafayette claimed.
Agabin said if only Greenpeace could be as responsible as the World Wildlife Fund, which pulls no stunts but actually helps solve problems, then Greenpeace would be welcome. "In fact, they should help clean up Guimaras instead of spend time playing cat and mouse," he said.
Last Wednesday and yesterday, Agabin said the company invited the Greenpeace people into the project ''to show we are transparent, have nothing to hide, and are models of responsible mining."
But on Thursday, at a given signal, their team put up banners inside and their photographers immediately took pictures. ''We were gracious hosts and we never thought we would be treated with such disrespect," he said.
Then, he said, Greenpeace people took water samples from a creek.
''At around that same time, a Greenpeace press release was issued in Manila saying the water samples contained cadmium, copper and zinc. How could that be? We are idle now while waiting for permission to proceed to the third and last stage of our test run," he said.
Agabin said had Greenpeace asked, they would have been informed that the cadmium is coming from the tunnel that was dug by two previous companies before Lafayette came.
''We are actually providing a permanent solution to a known and pre-existing problem by diverting the outflow from this tunnel towards Lafayette's ponds where the water will be treated and cleansed." "We are part of the solution. I wish Greenpeace would offer solutions, too. But they opt to be troublemakers instead," he added.
It was after lunch Thrusday when the Greenpeace team, including two male and one female Caucasians, rushed Lafayette's wharf. The three foreigners climbed up the conveyor belt, hung down their banners as cameras clicked, then climbed down and left in their speed boats.
- 183 Environment