DENR vows to restore 2 rivers in Marinduque
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Monday promised to take all interventions to restore two Marinduque rivers hit by “one of the worst mining and environment disasters in the Philippine history.”
“We made a plan to restore all the rivers in the Philippines, including the Boac and Mogpog rivers. We will clean them up and we have a way of doing that using non-government resources,” he said.
He said it was high time the government spearheaded a massive clean-up and rehabilitation of the Boac and Mogpog rivers for the benefit of the people of Marinduque who continued 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,” he lamented.
According to the DENR chief, he has approved initial P5-million funding for the construction of the 90-meter-wide Gabion dam across the Mogpog River, particularly the downstream portion of Maguila-guila Creek, to prevent further siltation in its basin.
The planned river rehabilitation would include the dredging of the two rivers by a private contractor at no cost to the government, he added.
The private contractor would foot the bill of the dredging operation in exchange for whatever minerals that he may recover provided he would pay the corresponding 4 percent excise tax.
On March 24, 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.
The incident “practically killed the Mogpog River with its toxic mine tailings,” the DENR said.
Cimatu said he would immediately issue a department administrative order as soon as the Marinduque provincial government submits a formal request to place the Boac and Mogpog rivers under rehabilitation. (Rio N. Araja)
Image grabbed from: ABS-CBN News