Tuesday, March 14, 2017

For Marinduque: MIMAROPA environmental health body convened

Marcopper minesite, Marinduque.

Finally, DOH convened the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health (RIACEH), on March 9-10 which, in fact, DOH Sec Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial informed MACEC and this blogger via email in February that she would undertake. 

On Feb 1, immediately reacting to my Facebook post calling the attention of DOH, Sec. Ubial on environmental health issues, she replied, "yes po, we will look into this".



In a follow-up email Feb 7 the good Secretary stated:

Thank you for the information. We are committed to health and welfare of the Filipinos wherever and whoever they are! Sometimes we are frustrated because the complaints fall on deaf ears, but we should not give up! We know how inaction can lead to bigger problems! We have to be persistent and insistent! We cannot give up! - Sec. Paulyn


MACEC, through its executive director Ms. Beth Mangol welcomed the new DOH Secretary's response. In the same thread, she stated how in the past, CSOs led by MACEC conveyed their request to DOH to do a comprehensive health and environmental study (that excludes yet the current Hinapulan creek episode), but nothing happened, Beth said. 'Mabuti po kung open ang bagong DOH secretary for this critical issues sa Marinduque.', she added. 

Then on Feb. 18, we received the following email from the Secretary on the local monitoring being done and the plan to convene the RIACEH on the Marinduque environmental and health issues:

MIMAROPA RIACEH focus on Marinduque

RIACEH is composed of DOH, DENR, DPWH, DILG, DA, DTI, DoST, PIA among other national agencies of the government. PTV News reports that problems posed by the abandoned Marcopper mine site were taken up during the two-day meeting. Among them were the current state of the earth dams, one diversion tunnel at Makulapnit Dam found to be leaking together with other structures that need immediate remediation.

During the meeting, DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo was quoted to have said that the dams are near a fault area. "Anytime there's an earthquake a big flood could occur, great contamination could transpire", he said.

DOH Regional Director Eduardo Janairo: 
Marcopper structures a danger, dams also near fault area,
big flood could occur.

Local calls for assistance from the national government and law enforcement agencies to accompany them during monitoring and inspection of the site was also taken up.

"We have already touched base... in fact, we are going to Marinduque this week to conduct observation including Marcopper", MGB-MIMAROPA regional director Roland de Jesus, said.

The Committee urged Congress to also help formulate solutions to the mine site problems.

"We are marketing Marinduque as a tourism-based destination. Pero... mawawala yun and then we are going on planning in Marinduque. Pero kung yung tataniman mo contaminated, useless yun...", said Janairo. 

Local government units in Marinduque have been for years pushing for the conversion of the mine site into a special eco-tourism zone.

Congress urged to help in formulating solutions to the Marinduque environmental and health issues



DOH umalma sa Abandonadong Marcopper Mining Corp sa Marinduque

Transcript of the PTV News video:

Matapos mag-inspeksyon ang Mines and Geosciences Bureau noo'y tinuturing naman ng DOH ngayon na delikado na sa publiko ang abandonadong Marcopper Mining Corporation minesite sa lalawigan ng Marinduque. (After an earlier inspection by MGB, the DOH now considers the abandoned Marcopper minesite a danger to the public)

Ayon kay MIMAROPA regional health director Eduardo Janairo naging basehan nito ang iniulat ng mga local officials na leaks o tagas sa mga dam ng minahan. Batay sa 1996 report ng USGS Survey, tinukoy nito ang Makulapnit at Marcopper's Maguilaguila Water Dam na parehong nasa state of imminent danger of collapsing. (According to RD Eduardo Janairo the basis for this are the reports from local officials about leaks and seepage from the dams in the mine site. According to the 1996 USGS Survey, the Makulapnit and Marcopper's Maguilaguila Water Dam are in state of imminent danger of collapsing).

JANAIRO: Delikadong delikado lalo't marami nang infrastructures na kailangang gawan ng paraan, May mga butas, may mga tumutulo na at ang isa pang pinakamalaking problema, malapit ito sa fault area. Kaya anytime na pag-lumindol biglang malaking baha ang mangyayari, malaking kontaminasyon ang mangyayari. (JANAIRO: Very very dangerous considering that there are many structures that need remediation. There are holes, now with water coming out, and one more big problem, this is near a fault area. Anytime there's an earthquake a big flood could occur, great contamination could transpire.)



Isang pulong din ang inorganisa ng DOH kasama ang ibat-ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, maging ang provincial government ng Marinduque. (The DOH also organized a meeting with different agencies of government, also with the provincial government of Marinduque.

Pangunahing pinag-usapan ang mga concerns ng publiko sa integridad ng dekada tagal nang minahang ito. Pati na din ang paghingi nila ng tulong sa national government at ilan pang law enforcement na samahan silang makipag-ugnayan sa may-ari nito lalo't wala daw pinapapasok sa minahan. (The main agenda were the public concerns on the integrity of the decades old mines. Also their call for assistance from the national government and other law enforcement to accompany them to coordinate with the owner, specially since no one purportedly is allowed entry in the mine).

Rehabilitasyon din ang kanilang nais isulong dito. (They are also pushing for rehabilitation).


DE JESUS: We have already touched base... in fact, we are going to Marinduque this week to conduct observation including Marcopper...

JANAIRO: ...We are marketing Marinduque as a tourism-based destination. Pero... mawawala yun and then we are going on planning in Marinduque. Pero kung yung tataniman mo contaminated, useless yun...

Nauna din daw nagpadala ng 8-member team ang MGB sa lugar kung saan natagpuan ang sira sa diversion tunnel ng Makulapnit Dam sa barangay Hinapulan sa Boac. Nabanggit pa ni MGB director Roland de Jesus na naging kontribusyon sa deterioration ng mining tunnel ang matinding ulan na dulot ng bagyog "Nina". (It was reported that an 8-member team from MGB inspected the area where they found the leak in the diversion tunnel of Makulapnit Dam in brgy. Hinapulan in Boac. MGB director de Jesus was quoted that heavy rains from typhoon "Nina" contributed to the deterioration of the mining tunnel.)

Bukod dito hinikayat din nila ang Kongreso na makipagtulungan sa pagbuo ng solusyon sa problema ng minahan. (Aside from this, they also urged Congress to help formulate solutions to the mine site problems).

Samantala, inilatag naman ng Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA ang ilang ginawang pag-aaral ng mga dalubhasa para hindi maapektuhan ang kalikasan at hindi makontamina ang tubig. (Meanwhile DOST-MIMAROPA laid down some studies by experts in controlling damage to the environment and to not contaminate water.)

DST: Ito ay naging study ng UP Diliman, yung cocopeat po from coconut husk has been evaluated on their potential in removing heavy metals. Results po ay nagpakita na generally effective po siya na magtanggal ng heavy metals... (This is a study from UP Diliman. Cocopeat from coconut husk has been evaluated on their potential in removing heavy metals. Results show that they are generally effective in removing heavy metals..)

Marinduque Congressman Lord Alan Velasco
with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Ang mga hakbang at pagkakaisa ay alinsunod sa pagnanais ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na magkaroonng maayos at ligtas na lipunan at mapangalagaan ang kapaligiran. (The response and unity are in accordance with the desire of President Rodrigo Duterte for a safe and secure society and to protect the environment). - PTV News.

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