Philex calms labor union’s fears-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
PHILEX Mining Corporation vice president for corporate affairs Mike Toledo assured labor laws and safety standards are being met.
Reacting to statements of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on a total closure of the mining firm, as well as questionable labor practices and safety issues, Toledo said the company is complying with all labor requirements as well as safety standards.
He said the concerns of KMU and CPA will be looked into, but assured there is nothing amiss in workers’ rights and safety.
CPA chairperson Windel Bolinget is calling for the total closure of the mining company and asserts the lifespan of tailings pond 3 has long expired, pointing to negligence by the company and government agencies.
But Toledo said Philex voluntarily stopped operations long before the government ordered it, as soon as the first leak was spotted in August.
“We have remained closed since,” he said.
Toledo said they continue to abide by guidelines of government, lamenting it is unfair for the company to have been found liable to pay P1 billion in fines and penalties when no official report was submitted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“It is an irresponsible statement. We have suffered losses and stocks because of it,” he said.
KMU chairman Victor Delem has likewise cited concern over safety of workers allegedly working in the Balog River without safety gear, as well as the issue on unpaid overtime.
Toledo assured international standards have long been adapted by the company on workers, citing international certifications and recognition given to Philex prior to the debilitating leaks.
Delem said workers have been complaining of burning itchy sensations since the Balog cleanup began but there are allegedly no doctors or medical personnel assigned to their care.
Toledo, who holds office in Manila, the central headquarters of the firm, said he will investigate all claims of both the CPA and the KMU.
Toledo said a separate team has now been deployed to study the possibility on how to construct a new tailings pond in the area.
“We are doing this just in case we cannot repair the tailings pond 3, we want to be prepared and not waste time,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 22, 2012.