"I chose to go to law school because I thought that someday, somehow I'd make a difference." -A.

August 13, 2014

Zambales Mining Workers: Lift the DENR Suspension Orders and Resume Mining Operations

On the morning of August 9, 2014, over 1,000 mine workers from the town of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, gathered in what was believed to be an opening salvo for their campaign in defense of the mining operations in their area. They are calling the local officials to support them in their fight to win their jobs back.

The fate of more than 3,000 workers, mostly from this town, now hangs in the balance after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region III of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DENR) suspended the operations of four mining firms in Central Luzon. These companies are as follows:

  • Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation
  • Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines, Inc.
  • Eramen Minerals, Inc. 
  • LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc

By reason of the suspension of the operations of the above-mentioned mining entities, the workers formed a group called Coalition of Mine Workers, Families, and Communities (CMWFC) with the goal of pressing for the resumption of the mine operations of the four companies as well as for the lifting of the cease and desist and suspension orders issued by DENR last June 9 and July 15, 2014.

The workers who lost his job said "We are supposed to receive our salary next week. What will happen to all our families now that we don't have jobs?"

Orlan Mayor, the spokeperson of CMWFC also said that the operations of the mining firms in Zambales paved way to employment for thousands of the residents and that many also received benefits from the services rendered by the companies. He later said that the prospects of finding new jobs for these workers are dim with only farming, apart from mining which has been called as the primary source of livelihood in the province.

Coalition of Mine Workers, Families, and Communities (CMWFC) belied the allegations of the mining firms'violations, saying that the bases of the DENR orders "were either conceived by wild imagination or bloated by the anti-mining group led by Dr. Benito Molino."

"Results of the investigations of the local offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture in Zambales showed that only 30 hectares of land are affected by the nickel erosion and these are owned by 30 individuals contrary to the claims that there are thousands of hectares of farmlands affected," the group president said. The group also found recently that Dr. Molino indicated his plan to enter in the local political arena. In the interview by Interaksyon.com, Dr. Molino admitted that "...the people here in Sta. Cruz ay matagal na nila akong kinukumbinsi para maging mayor.

Believing that it's a high time that the majority of the populace raise their voices against a handful of propagandist - whose only aim is to derail the social and economic development brought by the mining operations; the coalition also calls on their fellow citizens to speak out and not to fall prey at the political agenda of this pseduo anti-mining group. 

1 comment:

  1. All I can is wow... bias reporting to the max... please watch the reporter's notebook... when I said that people are convincing me, it doesn't mean that I am running... if you are not convinced of the environmental destruction in our town, why not talk to the officers of the EMB and the MGB, the government agencies tasked to safeguard our environment from destruction... they did investigations and their findings were the reasons of suspension... or again watch the Reporter's Notebook's Lasong Putik or the Investigative Documentary Mina: Zambales ... God bless.


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