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Legarda urges government, mining firms to ensure safety of mining workers

July 18, 2015

SENATOR Loren Legarda said Saturday the government and mining companies must coordinate to ensure the safety of mining workers, after the latest coal mine accident on Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique.

Legarda said the Department of Energy (DOE) and the local government should investigate the incident, which killed at least three miners.

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

“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?” she added.

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

Legarda said the DOE, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Labor and Employment must strictly enforce safety standards on the mining sites.

She added that Semirara Mining Corp., the biggest coal miner in the Philippines that has given a license to operate an open pit mining facility, must comply with occupational and safety standards.

“Safety in coal mining is always an issue. There are environmental impact, as well as health and safety implications to the workers,” Legarda said.

The open pit coal mine of Semirara Mining Corp. collapsed early Friday, burying nine workers.

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

Source: Sunstar