ITOGON, Benguet -- Several residents here are appealing to President Benigno Aquino III to permanently lift the suspension of Philex Mining Corporation (PMC).
The town’s officials, in their resolution, expressed the sentiments of the people asking for the president to lift the suspension of the mining firm as it affects not only the working citizens but also the whole province.
The council said it is high time for the suspension to be lifted permanently because it paralyzes the economic development of the local government units of Itogon and Tuba; and also affects the provincial government of Benguet; and the country as a whole because of the expected income from the company once it starts operating again.
Apart from the expected share, several citizens of Tuba and Itogon and even outsiders are now being misplaced because their livelihood is affected. Several workers expect to return to their respective jobs because of the incoming opening of classes and need money for school supplies and tuition fees of their children.
Prior to the council’s appeal to the president, the council had an ocular inspection at the tailings pond 3 of PMC where the leak came from. They observed that the mining company is doing its best to address environmental concerns and social issues.
In the early months of 2013, the council appealed to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for a temporary operation of PMC in order to rehabilitate dam 3. The plea was granted for PMC to temporarily operate for four months.
Later, the council appealed again to MGB for extension of the temporary operation permit of PMC.
Philex was slapped with a suspension of operation after its tailings pond 3 collapsed and spilled about 21 million metric tons of mine wastes along Balog creek and reached Agno River.
MGB the penalized the mine firm with P1.034 billion and another P92.8 million for the water pollution the spill caused.
The MGB-Cordillera earlier explained the suspension will only be lifted if the rehabilitation of the dam and its surroundings is completed.
Philex was also ordered to clean up the Balog Creek and the river banks of the Agno, some were already completed by Philex.