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Velasco lauds Marinduque RTC decision awarding damages to Marcopper tragedy victims

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House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has lauded the decision of the Marinduque Regional Trial Court ordering Marcopper Mining Corporation to pay damages to those affected when the firm’s siltation dam burst in 1993.

The said tragedy resulted in the killing the Mogpog River and flooding nearby communities with toxic residues of heavy metals and silt.

“Three years later in 1996, a much worse disaster took place when a fracture in the drainage tunnel of Marcopper’s Taipan pit spilled more than 1.6 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings, flooding villages and poisoning the Boac River,” said the Marinduque solon.

Velasco said that the recent court ruling is “very welcome and long overdue.”

“It is a major victory for the people of Marinduque against the company responsible for one of the worst mining and environmental disasters in Philippine history,” he said.

“But the quest for justice for all victims is far from over. In fact, in 2020, authorities discovered about 100 barrels containing what they described as ‘toxic substances’ in Marcopper’s old storage facility,” he said.

“It is regrettable that even after more than two and a half decades, we are still hounded by the Marcopper tragedy that caused the biological death of Boac River, killing the livelihood of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk and other residents of at least 20 villages who are dependent on the river,” he added.

Velasco also noted that up to now, people in the area continue to suffer the effects of the mining tragedy as evidenced by health problems.

“We strongly believe that the government must continue to exact accountability from Marcopper for the consequences of its irresponsible mining practices that have caused irreparable damage to the environment and to the people of Marinduque,” he said.