Don’t stop seeking accountability from Marcopper, gov’t urged | Inquirer News

Don’t stop seeking accountability from Marcopper, gov’t urged

/ 05:04 AM May 26, 2022

Velasco on Sara Duterte

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (Photo from the Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — Following a court decision awarding damages to residents affected by a 1993 mine spill in Marinduque province, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco pressed the government to continue to demand accountability from Marcopper Mining Corp.

Velasco, who represents the lone district of Marinduque in the House of Representatives, has hailed the decision of the Marinduque Regional Trial Court (RTC) to make the mining firm pay damages to residents hit by the mine spill.


“This recent court ruling is very welcome and long overdue. It 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 on Wednesday.


“We strongly believe that the government must continue to exact accountability from Marcopper for the consequences of its irresponsible mining practices that have caused irreparable damage to the environment and to the people of Marinduque,” he added.

Velasco said that more than two decades later, the province was “still hounded by the Marcopper tragedy” when its siltation dam burst in 1993, “killing the Mogpog River and flooding nearby communities with toxic residues of heavy metals and silt.”

In 1996, he said “a much worse disaster took place when a fracture in the drainage tunnel of Marcopper’s Tapian pit spilled more than 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 about 100 barrels containing what they described as ‘toxic substances’ in Marcopper’s old storage facility,” Velasco said.

Health problems

He said his provincemates “continue to suffer the effects of the mining tragedy as evidenced by health problems, making it all the more imperative to come up with stringent and long-term environmental solutions.”

On May 16, the Marinduque RTC Branch 38 awarded damages to residents affected by the 1993 Marcopper mine spill in Mogpog town.


Marcopper was ordered to pay each of the 30 plaintiffs P200,000 in temperate damages and P100,000 in moral damages. The court also ordered the mining firm to pay them P1 million collectively in exemplary damages.

The temperate damages would cover properties, crops and livestock lost by each of the remaining plaintiffs while the moral damages would compensate for the physical and mental suffering of the plaintiffs due to loss of livelihood and the continuous hazard posed by the Maguila-guila Dam.

The court said the mining firm was “negligent in the performance of its duty to conscientiously operate and maintain the Maguila-guila Dam,” which led to its oversedimentation and dam breach that spilled floodwater into the Mogpog River.


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Toxic substances found in Marinduque mine site


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