Hold Apex Mining responsible for Maco landslide
Lumad groups and their supporters demanded Apex Mining Corporation to be held responsible for the February 7 landslide in Masara, Maco in Davao de Oro. At least 100 people are believed to be buried under the mud, mostly miners inside buses that were then parked in the middle of the community.
At last report, 15 died, 32 injured, and 89 are considered missing. A child was dug up alive, two days after his house was buried. Apex Mining is owned by comprador Enrique Razon Jr, one of the biggest cronies of both the Duterte and Marcos regimes.
“Our ancestors always tell us not to dig the ground if we have nothing to plant because (if not, the) time will come when the ground will swallow us up,” said Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, former representative of Bayan Muna in Congress.
She said, the land is very sacred to the Lumad, that is why they, from their ancestors until now, defend it so fervently.
“Apex Mining cannot be silent and cover up its responsibility over the residents who fell victim to mining. The company must be held accountable for all the lives and livelihoods lost. They must leave so as to immediately stop the destruction of our ancestral land,” she said.
“Apex Mining must be held accountable. Their operations must be stopped,” she insisted.
Corrupt government officials, local and national, who are complicit in the ongoing environmental destruction and plunder of natural resources of the Lumads must also be held accountable.
Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno denounced Apex for operating the mines 24 hours a day and endangering the lives of miners amid heavy rains in the Davao region which already caused flooding and landslides in nearby areas.
“It has to be asked: how does the company protect the worker on the way to, during and on the way home from work?” statement by Jerome Adonis, general secretary of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
He said, there is a long list of similar incidents but no one has been held accountable. Our countrymen workers in the mine, and people in the community are always the losers.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has twice suspended Apex’s open-pit mining operation due to the damage it caused to the environment.
The Gabriela group call for justice for the victims.
“The workers and residents who died, were injured and are missing due to the landslide that occurred, are victims of widespread destructive mining in the region,” the group said.
“The citizens of Maco demand justice. This can only be achieved if the government stops destructive mining in the country and holds the big mining companies accountable,” he said.