Don’t stop holding Marcopper to account, government urged
MANILA, Philippines – Following a court ruling awarding damages to residents affected by a 1993 mine spill in Marinduque province, President Lord Allan Velasco urged the government to continue to demand accounts from Marcopper Mining Corp.
Velasco, who represents Marinduque’s sole district in the House of Representatives, welcomed the Marinduque Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) decision to compel the mining company to pay damages to residents affected by the spill. mine.
“This recent court decision is very welcome and long overdue. This is a major victory for the people of Marinduque against the company responsible for one of the worst mining and environmental disasters in Philippine history,” Velasco said in a statement Wednesday.
“We strongly believe that the government must continue to hold Marcopper to account for the consequences of its irresponsible mining practices which have caused irreparable harm to the environment and the people of Marinduque,” he added.
Velasco said more than two decades later, the province was “still dogged by the Marcopper tragedy” when its siltation dam burst in 1993, “killing the Mogpog River and flooding nearby communities with toxic heavy metal tailings. and silt”.
In 1996 he said that “a much worse disaster occurred when a fracture in the drainage tunnel of Marcopper’s Tapian pit spilled over 1.6 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings, flooding villages and poisoning the Boac River”.
“But the quest for justice for all victims is far from over. In fact, in 2020, authorities discovered approximately 100 barrels containing what they described as ‘toxic substances’ at the former Marcopper storage facility,” Velasco said.
He said his provincial comrades “continue to suffer the effects of the mining tragedy, as evidenced by health issues, making it all the more imperative to find tough, long-term environmental solutions.”
On May 16, Marinduque RTC Branch 38 awarded damages to residents affected by the 1993 Marcopper mine spill in the town of Mogpog.
Marcopper was ordered to pay each of the 30 plaintiffs 200,000 pesos in temperate damages and 100,000 pesos in moral damages. The court also ordered the mining company to pay them collectively 1 million pesos as exemplary damages.
Temperate damages would cover property, crops and livestock lost by each of the remaining plaintiffs while moral damages would compensate plaintiffs for physical and mental suffering due to loss of livelihoods and the continued danger posed by the Maguila- guila.
The court said the mining company had “neglected in the performance of its duty to conscientiously operate and maintain the Maguila-guila dam”, which led to its over-sedimentation and the failure of the dam which spilled flood waters in the Mogpog River.
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