Legarda Laments 2nd Semirara Mining Tragedy

July 18, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for joint effort of the government and mining companies in ensuring the safety of mining workers as she lamented the recent tragedy in Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique where at least three miners have been confirmed dead.


“I condole with the families of the victims and urge the Department of Energy (DOE) and the local government to pursue an independent and fair investigation and put the safety of our people first before profit,” said Legarda, who is an Antiqueña.


According to news reports, the open pit coal mine of Semirara Mining Corporation (SMC) in Antique collapsed early Friday, burying nine workers.


The Senator stressed that safety measures in mining areas should be stringent and that work should have been suspended following continued heavy rains.


“This is the second time it has happened. The safety of our people must be a priority. Why were there operations despite the continued rains? Were safety measures in place?” asked Legarda.


In February 2013, a landslide also occurred at the same mine killing at least five miners.


“Safety in coal mining is always an issue. There are environmental impacts as well as health and safety implications to the workers. Semirara Mining Corporation was given a license to operate an open pit mining facility, it is their responsibility to comply with occupational and safety standards. On the other hand, government agencies, particularly the DOE, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must strictly enforce safety standards on these mining sites,” said Legarda.