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Bikol Green Groups Challenge LGU Climate Change Summit, Decries Security Overkill

Legazpi City (November 04 2010)  -- At a picket protest at the La Piazza Convention Center, the venue of the LGU Summit +3i, a multi-sectoral group questioned the sincerity of the sponsoring organization, the Center for Initiative and Research on Climate Change Adaptation (CIRCA) and challenged the local government units to "walk their talk."

The groups also decried the security overkill on the summit considering that the topic is about climate change and noted that the police barricades that had been set up near the venue as well as in the Legazpi City Airport were "measures [which] show the anti-people and anti-environment character of the summit."

According to Virgilio Perdigon Jr., spokesperson of the Save Rapu-Rapu Alliance (SARA), "Is CIRCA really doing this for the environment, for the funds of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or for the big mining companies to gain pogi points in the public eye? CIRCA's Executive Director Manuel C. Rangasa even suggested during the October 11 meeting in preparation for the summit that Filminera, Goodfound Cement and Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project participate in the exhibit for climate change."

Perdigon furthered that "the DENR reported that Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project would not join the exhibit during the summit. However, the other two companies have not indicated any sign of withdrawing. Nevertheless, the mere suggestion to invite them to the climate change summit is way out of bounds."

"It is not only ironic. It is downright insulting. These companies are involved in the most destructive mining practices in the region, open pit mining chief among them. Have CIRCA and Mr. Rangasa sold their principles? The best practice that these companies can exhibit to help alleviate climate change is the immediate and total closure of their mines," stated Perdigon.

Antonio Casitas, head servant of SAGIP ISLA, said "While it is good that summits like these are conducted it would be better if non-governmental organizations (NGOs) both in the grassroots and environmental institutions had been invited to have a more holistic view of the environmental problem we are facing. It would also be better if LGUs not only talk about climate change and disaster risk reduction but actually do something concrete about them."