It’s difficult to believe it is 25 years since the (first) Marcopper disaster … even as arguments rage over the clean up and compensation at the more recent Samarco disaster at Mariana, it is a painful lesson to see people are still fighting for justice on the island of Marinduque.
LOST RIVERS, LOST LIVES: 25th Anniversary of the Marinduque Minespill
December 6, 1993 —
25 years ago today, Marinduque experienced the worst mining disaster in Philippine history. The Marcopper-buillt Mogpog river dam burst, flooding the downstream villages in Mogpog. A toxic deluge swept through the valley, submerging villages, farmland and the town of Mogpog where two children were swept to their deaths.
The Marcopper mine spill was the worst mining disaster in Philippine history. It rendered Marinduque island’s rivers and bay lifeless, leaving fishing and farming families severely affected.
More than two decades on, justice remains elusive for the people of Marinduque. Let’s not forget the people and communities of Marinduque.
What happened in Marinduque should remind us how difficult it is to exact accountability from large-scale mining companies. It is high time we scrap the 1995 Mining Act, which just gives large-scale companies who destroy the environment a slap on the wrist. We need to pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), which will wrest the control of our natural resources from large-scale mining and return it to the government.
Marcopper and Asian Development Bank, which initially funded the project, are still not held liable.
It is time that governments sign the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights to hold Transnational Corporations accountable for projects that cause grave human rights violations and environmental disasters. This liability must also extend to International Financial Institutions that fund those projects.
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