House to probe Semirara mine collapse
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will investigate the collapse of the Semirara Mining and Power Co. mine site in Antique that left nine workers dead last month.

Two measures – Resolution 2274 filed by Reps. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol, and Ibarra Gutierrez and Angie Katoh of Akbayan, and Resolution 2246 authored by Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela – prompted the inquiry.

To help the House in its inquiry, Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, who is accounts committee chairman, has written Department of Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos, asking for a copy of a DOE report on the Semirara coal mine accident that occurred on July 17.

“This may aid us in our own investigation, which may help avoid the  loss of more lives in the future,” Madrona said in his letter.

He said in 2013, a similar incident occurred at the Semirara mine site and left five workers dead.

“These accidents have prompted the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry to determine whether possible violations of safety standards, laws, rules, regulations, and the terms of Semirara’s coal operating contract have been committed,” he said.

Semirara Mining and Power Co. is a subsidiary of DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) Holdings.

In their resolution, Batocabe, Gutierrez and Katoh said they hoped to “find out the cause of the recent accident and possibly prevent a repeat of the incident.

“Unless we get a clear picture, the lives and safety of our miners and their families are at grave risk,” they said.    

In their resolution, Ilagan and De Jesus noted the statement of DMCI officials that the collapse of the mine was caused by continuous rains.

They said results of an investigation conducted by the Antique provincial government showed that excavated earth deposited at the top of the mine site wall triggered a landslide that led to the collapse of the mine.

“The Feb. 13, 2013 accident was also caused by excavated soil deposited to a mound. If the report of the Antique provincial government is true, the July 17 collapse is a repeat of the 2013 incident,” they said.

ACIRC CONSUNJI INC DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY UNDERSECRETARY DONATO MARCOS ELEANDRO JESUS MADRONA GUTIERREZ AND KATOH HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IBARRA GUTIERREZ AND ANGIE KATOH OF AKBAYAN ILAGAN AND DE JESUS JESUS OF GABRIELA SEMIRARA SEMIRARA MINING AND POWER CO
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