Roland De Jesus, a director of the Mines and Geoscience Bureau in Manila, says mining in the Philippines is safer now. As for Marinduque, he says, it’s not Manila’s responsibility to clean up the mess that a private company left behind. But he offers another solution. “One of the alternatives is to resume mining,” he says. According to De Jesus, “based on the actual production rate of the company when they suddenly stopped, they still have about 17 years of mine life.” He says that’s only an alternative if a company has the financial and technical capabilities to rehabilitate the damage caused by the previous operator.
De Jesus adds that a disaster like the one in Marinduque won’t happen again because new laws demand accountability for environmental damage. “I am confident we have a good mining law, one of the best in the world. Before there was a lack of transparency,” says De Jesus.
(Adeline) Angeles, the environmental advocate in Marinduque, says reopening that mine is an unacceptable option. “We cannot take another risk.” The island is now moving forward with launching a new lawsuit against the mining firm in Canada. But any compensation might not come soon enough.
|Elisa Hernandez used to earn a living washing her community's laundry|