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Katribu Partylist, a national democratic organization representing and advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines, is calling on Philex and the Philippine government to suspend dangerous mining operations within Benguet and Pangasinan over a recent mining disaster:
Indigenous peoples’ groups expressed their apprehension in allowing the resumption of the operations of Philex Mining Corporation’s in Padcal, Benguet. “The disaster that Philex incurred to the environment and people of Benguet and Pangasinan was the worst mining disaster in Philippine history. We must be guarded in letting Philex recommence their operations,” Kakay Tolentino, KATRIBU Partylist Secretary General shared.
“The environmental and socio-economic impacts of the tailings pond leak could not be downplayed by Philex. On the grounds, the effects are blaring,” Tolentino added. KATRIBU and other indigenous peoples and environmental organizations released the findings of the environmental investigative missions in mine affected sites conducted in Sofronio Española, Palawan and Padcal, Benguet in a public forum held today at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
“The disturbing results of the investigative mission conducted by organizations last year merits a deeper probe by the government at the very least. A thorough, transparent investigation of the Philex mine disaster is necessary to avoid such massive disasters in the future,” she added.
The partylist group urged the Department for the Environment and Natural Resources to closely evaluate Philex’s proposal to operate for four months, ostensibly to fully reseal the breach in its tailings pond and reuse the collapsed Tailings Pond 3. “Philex is laser focused in resuming its operations, as it is losing potential profits every day. The DENR, whose mandate is to protect our people and environment, must eye the erring mining corporation like a hawk, and not act like an indulgent benefactor,” Tolentino said.
The group is calling for the decommissioning of Tailings Pond 3 and justly compensate and rehabilitate affected communities.