Climate advocates hit DENR decision over Semirara compliance?

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MANILA, Aug. 18, 2015 – A group of climate justice advocates denounced in a press statement on Sunday Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) decision to lif the suspension of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ calls the decision unacceptable to have come from the DENR, which is mandated by law to ensure proper use of environment and natural resources.

‘Complacent attitude’

“Even if the mining operations in Semirara are still under suspension by the Department of Energy (DOE), the decision of the DENR clearly reflects the administration’s attitude of complacency and neglect of human rights violations,” said Glenn Ymata, PMCJ energy program director.

Aquino should answer for the 14 more deaths that resulted from fossil fuel dependence, he added.

“While the DENR concludes that the recent landslide in Panian Mine was a ‘fortuitous’ event, a bigger picture exists,” Ymata said. “The environmental impacts of mining in Semirara have been felt for years.”

According to him, these include loss of vast mangrove forests brought by clearing, land reclamation, and infill dumping, toxic contaminants buildup in surrounding waters, increased particulate matter in the waters and air, coral destruction, and air and water pollution.

14 deaths

Meanwhile, Sanlakas Secretary General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa calls for DENR’s transparency and accountability, particularly in their investigations into the mining incidents of 2013 and 2015.

“The DENR and the present administration must be held accountable for the environmental impacts of mining in Semirara,” he said. “They must release the results of the 2013 investigation and involve more civil society groups and people’s organizations in the current investigations.”

The investigation results should be disclosed, Pedrosa stressed. “The 14 people who lost their lives should be remembered only when another landslide happens.” (Oliver Samson / CBCP News)

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