Philex still needs to clean up, pay compensation – indigenous peoples

Philex “must understand that it is being punished for its unsafe and irresponsible mining practices, which is the basis for the fine.” It is the company’s responsibility to cleanup and rehabilitate the waters it damaged, and to compensate the adversely affected residents. – KAMP

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Bearing mugshots of DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Philex Mining Corp. chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, and President Noynoy Aquino III, the indigenous peoples and environment activists called the trio ‘criminals’ who should be arrested for crimes against the environment and the indigenous peoples. They picketed the gates of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Aug 1, a year after Philex’s Padcal mines began dumping million tons of minewastes downstream.

Indigenous peoples group demand the suspension of Philex's mining operation, and a probe on  environment secretary Ramon Paje for his questionable 'handling' of the largest mining disaster in Ph
Indigenous peoples group demand the suspension of Philex’s mining operation, and a probe on environment secretary Ramon Paje for his questionable ‘handling’ of the largest mining disaster in Ph

“The collusion of these three in facilitating mining is costing us our national patrimony, environmental integrity, and the safety and welfare of our people. A year ago today, the true nature of mining in the Philippines was exposed by the disaster: our mining industry is plunderous, unsafe, and irresponsible,” declared Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP).

The group demanded that Philex be made to pay “just compensation to affected communities, including the downstream communities in Pangasinan.”

“Philex should take responsibility for the adverse effects of its operations in Itogon and Tuba (towns of Benguet) and in the communities downstream of Agno River. The communities of San Manuel, San Felipe East, and San Felipe West were also severely affected by the mine spill, and by the protracted effects of the five-decade mine operations,” Malayao said.

KAMP said Philex “must understand that it is being punished for its unsafe and irresponsible mining practices, which is the basis for the fine.” It said it is the company’s responsibility to cleanup and rehabilitate the waters it damaged, and to compensate the adversely affected residents. “We demand no less from Philex,” Malayao said.

Philex profited billions but wreak havoc on environment, people

In the nearly six decades of Philex’s operations, it has extracted million tons of gold and copper from what used to be ancestral territories of indigenous peoples in Benguet. But according to Malayao, in return for vacating their territories, the indigenous peoples’ benefits had been scarce. They are forced to live in an unsafe environment, while some of them who became mineworkers have to bear scant benefits and poor working conditions. As such, Malayao said the indigenous peoples have “every right to exact clean up and compensation demands from Philex.”

Philex Mining Corporation’s gold mine in Padcal, Benguet lies at the heart of the Cordilleras. KAMP said it now hosts a mining community of 14,000 people composed mostly of indigenous peoples. The mine site covers 95 hectares of lands. Before the mining operations began more than five decades ago, Malayao said the land, mountains, and rivers were the sources of livelihood, culture, and way of life of the Igorot tribes.

KAMP assailed the DENR, saying it is abandoning its mandate to protect the environment and natural resources. In allowing Philex to resume full commercial operations, “the DENR is practically overseeing the continued destruction of the environment and putting our people in danger,” Malayao said. ()

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  1. Ngayon ko lang nakita ang mga hate comments. LOL at the claim that the scientific findings are unsubstantiated, those were samples taken directly from affected parts of Agno and its tributaries. Laboratory tests don’t lie. Toxicity isn’t the only factor in the impacts of mine tailings waste — smothering aquatic life forms from sunlight and oxygen is enough to kill them.

    Magkano yung reparations na binigay? I believe it doesn’t even equate to the economic losses from Benguet to Pangasinan over how many months or even years na significantly reduced ang kanilang agriculture at fisheries.

    At yung pinagmamalaki na social development management plan? Hindi ba yan yung laging ginagamit ng mga dambuhalang minero para hatiin at lupigin ang mga komunidad? Ginawa niyo na yan sa Xstrata-SMI at nauwi pa rin sa pag-aklas ang mga katutubo. You can’t fool all the people all the time, after all.

  2. The communities around the mining site are in good hands, from education to livelihood programs. The company doesn’t leave them hanging but has allotted funds for the development programs for communities affected by the philex spill. As far as i know the company gave scholarship grants to the kids affected. Only the people around the communities can truly say whether the company is beneficial to them, not those “environmentalist” that have no plans and haven’t seen what really is happening.

  3. Ah, yes, the Kalikasan PNE, whom WikiPedia describes as to as ‘commonly associated and organize from the traditions and organizing of the extreme left (Marxists-Maoist tendencies)’. Is it strange, then, that they want to cripple every industry that would bring progress?
    How is P1.034B a pittance when cleanup costing as much was paid long before this fine was paid? And where is this ‘hard evidence’ they blather about? Their so-called scientific findings were bashed at a recent senate hearing as being unsubstantiated.
    Whose argument carries more weight: Sybarite Communists (an oxymoron) who live in luxury far from the area they are claiming to protect, or the Indigenous People and other inhabitants of Itogon, Benguet?

  4. This has no fact and basis this is just a Lefty talking only there side of the story. It is an Accident, nobody can predict a natural calamity, besides after that incident Philex voluntarily stop the operation in Padcal and took full responsibility to the affected communities, not what Marc Copper did, Philex accident is only big in terms of volume not on toxicity level.

  5. Philex should resume operations you know why? Because the IPs the farmers the families the communities the LGUS who actually live in Itogon Benguet WANT Philex to resume and this so-called IP’s in the picture are the pretend
    green environmentalist but truth is they are the RED communist who never fail to complain without offering solutions, these group should shut their mouth and get a life!

  6. PHILEX has PAID the FINE (P1BILLION HONEST PESOS). Moreover Philex paid it WAY BEFORE the deadline, BUT long before the Company on its own started cleaning up and rehabilitating and even enhancing the environment with ecotourism and civil infrastructure.

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