ILOILO

Group asks DENR to probe Semirara mudslide

KALIBO, Aklan -- The Save Antique Movement (SAM) has urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to probe the October 2 mudslide at the Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC).

Bong Sanchez, SAM president, told SunStar that residents of Caluya, Antique have been opposing the Molave Pit operations of the SMPC.

A worker died after a mudslide at the Molave Pit on October 2. The worker, identified as Pepito Andapat, was found dead two days after the incident.

"Both the SAM and the residents have been opposing the operation of the Molave Pit since it started its operation two years ago because it is an offshore mining. The SMPC just make a temporary reclamation in order to create a barrier or seawall so that workers could mine the carbon in between the land and the sea. That is Molave Pit," he said.

"It is expected that a mudslide would occur anytime because there's seepage in the area," he added.

"I already mentioned this Molave Pit problem with both Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu early this year. But our call has been ignored. Now that a worker has died, we are calling again the DENR, now hoping to conduct deeper probe," he added.

In 2015, nine SMPC workers also died after excavated soil and part of the northern Panian open mine pit collapsed, burying the workers and heavy equipment.

Two years earlier, on February 13, 2013, five workers died and five others were presumed dead following the collapse of the western wall of the Panian pit.

The Department of Energy (DOE) earlier announced that it is conducting an investigation on the recent incident.

The SMPC also said in a separate statement that it is coordinating with the DOE on the investigation.


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