In a historic decision after almost 30 years, a Marinduque court has ruled in favor of at least 30 plaintiffs against the Marcopper Mining Corporation for a mine spill that ravaged the community in 1993.
In a decision dated May 16, 2022, Judge Emmanuel Recalde of Branch 38 of the Marinduque Regional Trial Court granted P200,000 in temperate damages, P100,000 in moral damages to each of at least thirty plaintiffs in the case filed in 2001.
Another P1 million as exemplary damages was awarded to all the plaintiffs.
“This is a victory for the plaintiffs who had waited two decades for justice as much as it is for the other plaintiffs who had unfortunately died in the course of this case,” Elizabeth Manggol of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) said.
Meanwhile, the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) who served as the legal counsel of the victims noted that the existing Mining Act poses many problems.
“Large-scale mining projects present inevitable damage. The Marcopper disaster is a warning we should heed with the ongoing and planned large-scale projects in the country. The existing Mining Act is problematic. The alternative minerals management bill (AMMB) is urgently needed to safeguard the environment from mining and prevent disasters like this,” Atty. E.M. Taqueban, executive director of LRC, said.
On December 6, 1993, parts of the structure of the Maguila-guila tailings dam owned by Marcopper broke, flooding the Mogpog River with toxic waste.
The incident released a huge amount of silted water which submerged and destroyed properties, and exposed the locals to serious health risks.
According to LRC, the mining incident is considered one of the worst mining disasters to hit the Philippines.
In 2017, the Department of Health (DOH) Marinduque found that heavy metals irritate the skin of locals,with most patients. Complaining of itch as well dark spots and white patches on their legs and feet.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom.
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