CIMATU URGES CONTINUOUS REHAB OF MOGPOG, BOAC RIVERS DURING MARINDUQUE’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION; CALLS FOR SHARED EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE PROVINCE’S NATURAL RESOURCES
Boac, Marinduque. Consistent with his 10-point agenda, which includes achieving clean water for all, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu urged the continuous rehabilitation of Boac and Mogpog Rivers as he led the unveiling of the centennial monument that marks the 100th anniversary of the declaration of Marinduque as an independent province by virtue of Republic Act No. 2880 on February 21, 1920.
In his speech as guest of honor during the province’s anniversary celebration on February 19, Cimatu expressed the urgency to restore these bodies of water which greatly suffered from the toxic materials that spilled during the Marcopper mining disaster on March 24, 1996.
In line with this, the Secretary will issue an administrative order pertaining to the proper dredging and other efforts to clean and restore the rivers.
“Through the years, this province has endured many trials and difficulties, yet it survived--the reason we are celebrating what we call ‘Sentenaryo ng Marinduque,’” he said.
The Environment Chief remarked that while it is normal to look back on what happened in the past, the people of Marinduque must assess its impact in their lives and reflect on what they can still contribute to improve the province.
“The question now should be, “Are we contented with the present state of this province or do we still want to move ahead and achieve a better Marinduque, one that is more resilient?”
The Secretary explained that to foster development, the people of Marinduque must be ready to accept one big challenge to sustain their God-given natural riches and for them to secure the province’s next generations.
“The protection of the environment and all other natural resources is not solely the responsibility of the DENR, but a shared responsibility among various stakeholders,” he stated.
Since Marinduque tops the list of 10 provinces that are most susceptible to landslides based on the study conducted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Cimatu also pointed out that it is imperative that LGUs consider the preventive or mitigating measures in their local disaster-preparedness plan.
He also urged the local government unit to ensure establishment and operation of a sanitary landfill to address garbage collection and disposal issues in the province.
“I believe that with the very competent leaders of this province, all problems and issues on the environment will be resolved,” Cimatu said as he recognized DENR’s partnership with Marinduque’s LGU headed by Representative Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, Governor Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Vice-Governor Romulo A. Bacorro Jr., and the members of Sanguniang Panlalawigan who were present in the event.
Lastly, the DENR chief ordered the Department’s local officials and employees to conduct regular monitoring and inspection of air and water quality, as well as solid waste management of the six municipalities of Marinduque, namely Boac, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Sta. Cruz and Torrijos.
Joining the DENR Secretary were other officials namely, MGB Acting Director Atty. Wilfredo Moncano, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado, MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland De Jesus and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Imelda M. Diaz.
“Marinduque is bestowed with God-given natural resources. Its beauty is a big potential for ecotourism and other types of development. I believe that economic growth espoused with environmental and social justice is the real “development” because when there is social justice, there is progress,” Cimatu said
“Marinduquenos, aim for a better, progressive and more resilient province! If you want real change, then work for it, work hard with us!,” the Secretary concluded.###
SECRETARY ROY A. CIMATU UNVEILS THE CENTENNIAL MONUMENT OF MARINDUQUE
Boac Marinduque- On February 19, 2020, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was the Guest of Honor in the Centennial Celebration of the Province of Marinduque. In his speech during the unveiling of the centennial monument, he urged the continuous restoration of Boac and Mogpog Rivers as these are the bodies of water highly affected by the Marcopper mining disaster incident on March 24, 1996.
Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was warmly welcomed by the people of Marinduque and had meet and greet with officials and employees of the Provincial and Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) spearheaded by Imelda M. Diaz, OIC-PENR Officer, together with Henry A. Adonardo, Regional Executive Director of DENR MIMAROPA Region, Atty. Wilfredo S. Moncano, Acting Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Engr. Roland A. De Jesus, MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director.
Congressman Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, Hon. Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Governor of Marinduque, and Vice-Governor Romulo A. Bacorro Jr., and members of Sanguniang Panlalawigan and Heads of various National Government Agencies (NGAs) and Local Government Officials were also present in the event and expressed their support to DENR programs, projects and activities towards the sustainable conservation, protection and management of the environment and natural resources of the province.
According to Sec. Cimatu he ordered all officials and employees of the Department to regularly conduct monitoring and inspection of air quality, water quality and proper waste disposal of six (6) Municipalities of Marinduque.
Likewise, he encouraged the establishment and operation of a sanitary landfill of Local Government Units (LGUs) even by cluster of municipalities to mitigate the aggravating garbage collection and disposal problem in the Province. ###
DENR moves to rehab rivers ruined by Marcopper mining disaster
ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has approved an initial P5-million funding for the construction of a 90-meter wide gabion dam across the Mogpog River in Marinduque province as part of the government’s rehabilitation efforts in water bodies devastated by the Marcopper mines.
The dam will be built downstream of the Maguila-guila Creek to prevent further siltation in its basin.
In a statement, Regional Director Roland de Jesus of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) in the Mimaropa region said the amount will cover the first phase of the project—conduct of a feasibility study, technical data gathering, design and planning for the dam’s construction.
“The result of the first phase will yield crucial information on the geological, geotechnical and hydraulic analysis of the Maguila-guila Creek, which will determine the design of the structure,” de Jesus said.
“The second phase or the implementation of construction stage may vary depending on the result of the first phase of the project,” he added.
Cimatu earlier vowed to restore two rivers, including Mogpog , that were devastated by the worst mining disasters in Philippine history—the Marcopper mining disasters in 1993 and 1996. Marcopper mine is one of the so-called legacy mines—those abandoned by mining companies after tragic mining disasters or upon reaching the end of the life of the mine before the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
While guesting at the recent 100th anniversary of Marinduque province upon the invitation of local officials led by Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. and his son, Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Cimatu bared that a plan to restore all the rivers in the Philippines, including the Boac and Mogpog rivers using nongovernment resources will soon be implemented by the agency.
He said it is high time that the government lead the massive cleanup and rehabilitation of the Boac and Mogpog rivers as people continue to suffer from the effects of the catastrophic tailings spills from the site of Marcopper Mining Corp. in 1993 and 1996.
“The environmental damages and unresolved issues brought about by the Marcopper mining operation in Marinduque for several decades now must be put to an end,” Cimatu said.
In March 1996, a fracture in the drainage tunnel of Marcopper’s Taipan pit spilled more than 1.6 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings, flooding villages and poisoning the Boac River.
Three years before that, the firm’s Maguila-guila siltation dam also burst, flooding the town of Mogpog, where two children drowned in the mine waste. It practically killed the Mogpog River with its toxic mine tailings.
Marcopper, which started its copper mining operations in the province in 1969, had been dumping mine waste into the Calancan Bay, destroying its corals and seagrasses.
Cimatu said he will immediately issue a department administrative order (DAO) once the Marinduque provincial government submits a formal request to place the Boac and Mogpog rivers under rehabilitation.
The planned river rehabilitation, he said, would include the dredging of the two rivers by a private contractor at no cost to the government.
Cimatu said the private contractor must shoulder all the expenses of the dredging operation in exchange for whatever minerals it may recover, provided the contractor pays the corresponding 4-percent excise tax.
So far, Cimatu has issued four DAOs in relation to the restoration of silted rivers through dredging, based on the separate requests of the provincial governments of Zambales, Oriental Mindoro and Negros Occidental.
The DAOs were pursuant to Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2019, issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Transportation.
The joint circular seeks to protect and restore to their natural state and water flow the heavily silted river channels in the country.
Image grabbed from: Philippine Star