Search and retrieval operations continue on the five missing workers of the Semirara Coal and Mining Corp. in Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique.
Senior Supt. Marloe Marfil, Antique police chief, said that local police authorities have not reported any development on retrieval operations for the bodies of Jan Riel Planca, Randy Tamparong, Richard Padernilla, Junjie Gomez, and their foreman Leovigildo Porras.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 6 said that they are still waiting for updates from the Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) and updates from Atty. John Sedullo, Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary of SCMC.
Local authorities have yet to send first-hand reports from the mine site because Semirara Island could be reached by boat for nine hours under good weather condition.
Communication is also a struggle for residents and workers.
Mayor Genevieve Lim Reyes of Caluya yesterday said that the coal mine company assured her that financial and burial assistance will be provided to the three survivors and five fatalities.
Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development director Evelyn Macapobre said that yesterday, families of the five miners that were confirmed dead received P10,000 burial assistance and relief goods; and families of the missing miners and those injured received P5,000 cash assistance and relief goods.
The DSWD will also assist the 200 other residents affected by the landslide.
FEAR OF COLLAPSE
According to Sangguniang Bayan Member Ricky Laviga, he learned that before the incident, several workers expressed fear of an impending collapse because it has been continuously raining for two days.
Mozart Lim, a Semirara village councilman and a first cousin of a dead victim, said the incident could have been avoided.
Reports said that the mining firmâ€™s Crack Monitoring Team gave out late afternoon of February 13, an advice that cracks were spotted in portions of the mine pit wall but these were allegedly taken lightly by the management.
As this developed, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) â€“Region 6 said that it will send a safety officer to Semirara to assess the health and safety plan of the SMC.
It was gathered that the company, which boasts as the only large-scale coal producer in the Philippines, has been in operation since 1998.
Almost four years ago, it was accused of polluting the islandâ€™s coastal resources with wastes from its coal washing plant.Â
However, SCMC brushed aside the allegation.*with Karen V. Bermejo/PNA
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