Labor inspectors deployed to Antique-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
MANILA -- Two inspectors were dispatched to remote Semirara Island in Antique province after a coal mine collapsed Wednesday, killing five people, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz ordered the two inspectors to ascertain the Semirara Mining Corporation’s (SMC) compliance with labor and occupational safety and health (OSH) standards governing surface mining activities.
SMC, owned by the DMCI Holdings Inc., is the largest producer of sub-bituminous coal in the Philippines based in the island municipality of Caluya in Antique.
The inspectors were also told to make sure that SMC cooperates closely with the local government of Caluya, the departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Energy (DOE), and with the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB), the lead agencies conducting the investigation on the mining accident in the island.
Baldoz said regulating mine safety, health, and sanitation is the function and responsibility of the MGB, but under the rules, mine operators are required to submit to the Dole, through its regional directors and the Bureau of Working Conditions, reports of mine accidents and on matters related to occupational safety and health.
The two Dole inspectors are Lorraine Villegas, officer-in-charge of the Dole Antique field office, and Engr. Michael Gison, labor employment officer.
"I have been informed that inclement weather prevented the early arrival of the two Dole inspectors, but they are on standby to go to the remote island once the rough seas become calmer," Baldoz added.
Semirara can only be reached from the mainland of Antique through Caluya municipality via boat trip. From Caluya, it will still take two to four hours to reach the island, also by pump boat.
Five miners died when the west wall of the Panian pit mine collapsed last Wednesday, burying under mud and debris 13 workers and seven mining equipment of the SMC. Three of the workers were rescued, but five remained missing Friday.
Baldoz said the two inspectors will coordinate with the investigating team of the DILG and the DOE.
"By Sunday, I will have an update from the inspectors," she said. (SDR/Sunnex)