Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tragedy of a legal case; Marker unveiled on Marcopper disaster's 20th anniversary

Isn't it a tragedy that after 20 long years, the provincial government of Marinduque has still not been able to take its case forward against Barrick Gold? 

And in spite of the fact that the vigilant Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), municipal governments, stakeholders and local church prelates have urged the provincial government that the case should now proceed in Canada, the concerned public officials appear to be purposely bidding for time for the nth time again. For what?

Based on information, no less than the Bishop of Boac, Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit, Jr. had the opportunity to personally convey the loud message before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. 

The good Bishop apparently had to politely resort to take up the cudgels himself for our people after it became apparent that the legal counsel who unscrupulously pushed the unacceptable settlement, resoundingly rejected by the people of Marinduque and the SP itself, was suddenly raising the settlement again during a recent public meeting - and getting support from top officials?


On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the mining disaster, environmentalist Joey Ayala, holds a free concert in Boac for environmental justice. Photo: Myke Magalang

It appears that the provincial government without providing any explanation to the stakeholders, are still bent, for reasons only known to them, to authorize the said lawyer and the US firm that stood as counsel in Nevada to refile the case - as if they could litigate in Canada. 

This, in spite of the fact that the provincial government had officially invited representatives of a Canadian firm in January for talks in the island-province together with the said US firm and with local officials.

Why should the Province pay for both US and Canadian lawyers if the case is going to go ahead in Canada? Does the SP have access at all to any draft contract with these lawyers that would enable the so august body to evaluate the possible conditions, costs, etc. - especially after the very controversial terms and costs entered into with lawyers involved in the earlier case? And so much for the 'dream team' hype and name-dropping.

Further, does the SP have access to the financing agreement, if any, to be able to see if there are any unacceptable conditions in it? 

Are they serious about the case at all? Or are they just thinking of some other way to get hold of the money already offered amid nasty but serious accusations on public domain that somebody, somebody here is actually lawyering for the mining company?

The Marinduque people hopefully, after 20 years of crying out for Environmental Justice still cling to dear Hope and Justice!

Marker unveiled on Marcopper disaster's 20th anniversary

Marinduqueños commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Marcopper tragedy with a marker. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Twenty years after the tragedy that had their rivers declared dead, the people of Marinduque remember the Marcopper mining disaster with a marker.

Members of the Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns, a Church-based organization, and officials from the municipality of Boac witness the unveiling of the memorial marker in Barangay Hinapulan on Thursday, two decades after the Marcopper mine tailings disaster of 1996.

On March 24, 1996, a tailings spill at the Marcopper Mining Corp's copper mine in central Marinduque province caused for least 1.5 million cubic metres of mine tailings to flow into surrounding rivers after flash floods, contaminating the river system and causing illnesses in the communities around the mine.

Affected communities are still dealing with several river systems in the province left heavily silted and poisoned when the Marcopper mine tailings dam leaked mercury-contaminated discharge, impacting the province’s water and food supply. -- Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News


A young boy plays in the dry river bed of what used to be the Mogpog River. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

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