CASE SUMMARYBoac River harbored a variety of marine life that was a source of food for its riverside residents.
In late March 1996, the worst mining accident in the Philippine history happened. Mine wastes from Marcopper Mining CorporationÃÂs mountaintop operations leaked into the river system. The grey like sludge was called ÃÂtailingsÃÂ.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Victor Ramos files criminal complaints against five Marcopper executives, including two Australians, and threatened to cancel both the companyÃÂs EDD and its mining lease agreement.
Since rainy season started early, the local officials of Marinduque are worried about the danger of flashfloods since as many as 14 barangays will be affected by this. The government expects Marcopper to shoulder the costs of the relief and rehabilitation costs. By the end of May 1996, Marcopper has improved mountain roads, delivered relief goods to the worst affected area.
Marcopper hired foreign experts to try to seal the leaking tunnels; however tailings continue to pour into the Makulapnit River.
Marcopper cannot determine the exact reason on why the leakage happened, but they do acknowledge that the drilling was the only mechanical activity on the tunnel area before it sprung a leak. DENR personnel also admit on not inspecting the mine in more than a year.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMIn what ways can Marcopper help the people of Marinduque build a better livelihood after the mining accident?OBJECTIVES1.To help rehabilitate the areas affected by the mining accident and create a better livelihood for the people of Marinduque.
2.To determine alternative courses of action that the company should take for them to be able to continue their mining projects.
ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF ACTION (ACA)ACA #1. CONTINUE MINING PROJECT BUT THE DENR SHOULD ENFORCE STRICTER ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS. IN CASE MARCOPPER VIOLATES THE AGREEMENTS/POLICIES ENFORCED, THEIR LICENSE WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY REVOKED AND THEY WILL NO LONGER BE WELCOMED IN THE PHILIPPINES.
PROsCONsÃÂThe residents living nearby the mining camp will benefit from the employment offered and the potential business it could provide to the local establishments. ÃÂThe extraction of minerals is one of the most environmental destructive man-made activities.
ÃÂMined out areas have rarely been rehabilitated and are disasters waiting to happen.
ACA #2. MARCOPPER SHOULD CLOSE DOWN THE MINING PROJECT AND LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS.
PROsCONsÃÂThe residents living nearby will have a peace of mind that the tailings will not continue to flow in the river.ÃÂThe residents of Marinduque will lose employment opportunities and local establishments will lose business.
ACA #3. ESTABLISH AGENCIES THAT WOULD HANDLE THE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION WORK. MARCOPPER SHOULD COMMIT TO MAKING A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER AND OFFER LIVELIHOOD PROJECTS TO THOSE GREATLY AFFECTED.
PROsCONsÃÂBy setting up an agency that could handle the rehabilitation and relief project, it could concentrate fully on helping the community.
ÃÂBy showing that Marcopper takes responsibility for their mistake, this reflects positively on the company.ÃÂBy setting up an agency, it would create a ÃÂdistanceÃÂ or impression that Marcopper does not want to directly deal with the problem.
CONCLUSIONThe Boac River cannot be rehabilitated right away and the communityÃÂs source of livelihood has been destroyed. The only ethical thing for Marcopper to do is provide relief services and help rehabilitate the river before leaving the country. Marcopper could also help the people of Marinduque by providing alternative source of livelihood (e.g. Basket Weaving).
The government should actively check mining camps to see if they are following the strict regulation. If the government will be strict in requiring environmental safegards, the mining camp will be forced to ensure that everything is done properly. If they will not involve themselves in helping the people around the mining area, then there is not hope for our government. Aside from requiring Marcopper to help rehabilitate Boac River, the government should make it a point to provide jobs to those whose livelihood was greatly affected by the mining accident. Because if we cannot help our own, who can we help? We should not rely entirely on Marcopper, because they do not have a stake in this, they can always leave the country and find other places to mine. But the people of Marinduque will always live there and cannot pack up and go. They have to live with the waste for the rest of their lives until someone or some organization will take action to save the community.
REFERENCESSeverino, H. G. (1996, April-June). A River Once Ran Through It. The Investigative Reporting Magazine .