Landslide claims life of Semirara worker in Antique
Update (10:00 p.m.)
ILOILO CITY — An employee of Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) on Semirara Island in Caluya town, Antique died on Sunday night after a landslide hit a portion of the Molave Pit.
Reports from members of Save Antique Movement (SAM) in Caluya said the victim was identified as Lpath Equia Felipe, 23, a resident of Barangay Banago.
Felipe, who has a degree of BS Education from the University of Antique-Caluya Campus, was reportedly conducting an inspection at the Molave Pit when the landslide occured.
As of 5:30 p.m. on Monday, the Antique Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Office said it had yet to receive the official reports from the local government of Caluya and the SMPC.
Bong Sanchez, president of SAM, said Felipe was brought to the Semirara Hospital owned by SMPC but was declared dead on arrival.
He added that SAM had yet to ascertain exactly how many were injured in the landslide as there were reports that there were either two or three other employees who were with Felipe.
Relying on reports of SAM members in Barangay Semirara, Sanchez said Felipe’s father went to Semirara Island from Caluya to retrieve his son’s body.
According to the SMPC website, the Molave Pit is one of the two operating mines on the island. The other one was Narra Pit. It is from these two pits that about 70 percent of SMPC’s production are sourced for local demand.
Environmentalists in Antique and SAM, however, claim that operating the Molave Pit is illegal.
Sanchez said the Molave Pit is reclaiming an area offshore and SMPC did not apply for a permit to reclaim the area. It also did not have the approval of the Antique Provincial Board.
“That’s the reason why we are asking the Philippine Reclamation Authority to investigate Molave Pit,” said Sanchez. /kga /ee
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