MGB pays over P500 K to victims of tailings leak
Eleven claimants received their compensation for the damage incurred during a leak in 2016 at the Liang Tailings Storage Facility of the Benguet Corporation-Benguet Antamok Gold Operation (BC-BAGO).
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera released P511,050.17 from the Mine Wasteand Tailings Reserve Fund (MWTRF) to the eligible claimants from Itogon.
Section 189 of Department of Environment and Natural Sciences Administrative Order 2010-21, the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, states that mine waste and tailings fees (MWTF) shall be collected semi-annually from each operating contractor/lessee/permit holder based on the amounts of mine waste and tailings they generated for the period.
The fees collected accrue to the MWTRF and are deposited in a government depository bank to be used to compensate damages caused by any mining operation.
All eligible claims for payment of damages during the tailings leak in 2016 were charged to the MWTRF.
The amounts received by the claimants depended on the extent of damage to their agricultural/pasture lands and lost/washed-out irrigation hoses and other facilities.
Said amounts were determined based on the assessment, validation, and recommendation of the Regional Investigation and Assessment Team (RIAT) that was further reviewed and approved by the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund Steering Committee (CLRFSC) that administers the MWTRF.
Forty-one applications for claims were filed with the RIAT, chaired by MGB with representatives from the regional offices of the DENR, Environmental Management Bureau, National Irrigation Administration, Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that assessed and validated the claims and forwarded its recommendations to the CLRFSC for approval.
The claims were grouped into two: 12 applications for damaged agricultural/pasture lands and lost/washed out irrigation hoses and other facilities and 29 applications for lost gold panning and sluicing implements.
After evaluation of the assessment results presented by the RIAT, the CLRFSC concluded that only 11 were entitled to compensation.
A claimant for damaged irrigation dam was removed from the list because of failure to provide proof of its existence.
The CLFRSC found no basis to award compensation for the other group of claimants considering that they were operating as small-scale miners without the corresponding permits from concerned government offices. – Press release