Investigation into Semirara accident must be fair to mining industry - PNoy

SAN PABLO, LAGUNA – Amid Wednesday night's accident in an Antique coal mine which killed least five miners and injured five more with three still missing, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said that he wants any inconsistency regarding the Semirara Mining Corporation's safety rules investigated, while, at the same time, being fair to Filipinos who make a living from mining. “Kasi pagkaintindi ko Semirara parang strip mine e, so surface, bakit nagkaroon ng tunnel? Again, I may be wrong but siyempre, any loss of life is always a concern for me, especially any Filipino life,”

said Aquino in a chance interview after his meeting with San Pablo, Laguna's local leaders. “Siyempre, sa kabilang panig naman, ’yung mga umaasa sa pagmimina na mga kababayan natin, sinasabi nila: huwag naman niyo kaming i-deprive ng pagkakataon na mapaganda ‘yung buhay natin sa pagkuha nitong mga resources na ito. So kailangan natin balansehin lahat nung interes ng magkabilang panig,” he added. Aquino had therefore asked Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas to get a briefing from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to find out the cause of the accident as well as the current state of the rescue effort for the missing. A large-scale commercial coal mine on Semirara Island in Antique collapsed late Wednesday night, a statement from the mining firm said Thursday. Semirara is the nation's only large-scale coal producer. Meanwhile, in a text message, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed that Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla will visit the site of the accident to learn more about what caused the deadliest large-scale mining accident in recent memory. "He will also meet with the families who were affected by the accident,” Lacierda said. — DVM, GMA News