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National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) called for an independent, impartial investigation on the landslide incident in Maco, Davao de Oro which claimed the lives of 11 people, and injured almost 100 others.
KMU highlighted that most of the casualties were workers of Apex Mining Corporation, an open-pit mining operation extracting gold. The labor group said that a thorough investigation should be launched to ascertain Apex’s accountability for the landslide. According to KMU, safety and health of employees at work should be the utmost priority of every employer in any industry.
“Kailangang malaman ng mamamayan kung ano eksakto ang kinalaman nitong mapanirang mga mina na nagdudulot ng malubhang epekto sa buhay, kaligtasan at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan. Kailangang tanungin: paano pinangangalagaan ng kumpanya ang manggagawa papasok, habang at pauwi mula sa trabaho?” said KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis.
“The people has the right to know how these destructive mines negatively impact the lives, safety and livelihood of our fellow people. A question must be asked: how does the company take care of their workers when they come to work, while they are at work and when they go home?”
“Dapat bulatlatin rin ang mga patakaran ng gobyerno na nagpapahintulot sa mga ganitong tipo ng mining operations. Mahaba na ang rekord ng mga kaparehong insidente pero walang napapanagot, laging dehado ang ating mga kababayang manggagawa sa minahan, at mga mamamayan sa komunidad.” he added.
“There must be a deeper look into government policies that allow these types of mining operations. There is a recorded string of similar incidents yet not one violator has been penalized. It’s always our mining workers and community residents who are at the losing end.”
KMU called for immediate support measures from the government and Apex Mining to be extended to the families of those who died, and to those who were injured. It also called for the immediate passage of the amendment to the Occupational Safety and Health Law to criminalize violations of standards that put workers’ lives in peril.
“Bare minimum po ang suporta na ito. Sana naman po ay maibigay ito nang maayos at mabilis sa mga nabiktima. Unang hakbang ito sa hustisya na ipaglalaban nating makamit ng lahat.”
“That support is bare minimum. We expect that this be provided swiftly and efficiently to the victims. This is just a first step to attain the justice which we will surely fight for.”
KMU scored big mining corporations, permitted by the national government, as the main culprits for environmental destruction which has impacted the lives of our fellow Filipinos in the countryside. It called for an immediate stop to open-pit mining and the creation of jobs that are safer for workers and the environment, and truly beneficial for the economy. ##