The Mines and Geosciences Bureau acknowledges the Decision dated March 16, 2022, rendered by the Marinduque Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, finding the defendant Marcopper Mining Corporation accountable for the violations it has committed against the mining and environmental laws, and awarding to each of the plaintiffs the amounts of P200,000 in temperate damages, P100,000 in moral damages and another P1 million as exemplary damages.
This unfortunate incident happened in 1993 under the old Mining Law, Presidential Decree No. 463, where the requirement for the establishment of Rehabilitation Cash Fund or Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Fund was not yet in place. This moved the MGB to review and reform this law which paved the way for the enactment of Republic Act No. 7942 known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Department Administrative Order No. 2010-21 as its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Under the present mining law, sufficient safeguards are in place to ensure that incidents such as this will be prevented in the future. One is the establishment of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund which not only ensures sustainable environmental protection measures at every stage of the mining operation, but also strengthens community protection by providing just compensation in cases where communities are adversely affected by unforeseen incidents caused by mining operations. This fund is kept in a government depository bank and is among the requirements strictly required and indispensable before all mining companies’ operations commence.
While there is no guarantee of a 100-percent incident-free mining, MGB assures the public that better and stronger policies are in place improving our monitoring system, so that any future incidents, although unwanted, can be addressed in the financial aspect of this funds.
As the industry regulator, MGB sees this as a warning to all mining companies that those who will commit any form of violation will be held accountable and will be dealt with to the full extent of the law. Let this likewise be a strong reminder to everyone to give utmost priority to the welfare of the people and protection of the environment.