KASAMA Vol. 12 No. 2 / April–May–June 1998 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

TUBA, Benguet

Tribal folk have protested the continued refusal of environment officials to investigate the dumping of wastes by a mining firm into the Bued River here. They said wastes from the mining operations of Philex Mining Corporation and its concessionaires had endangered lives and property of residents living near the river. "Our pigs and animals drink water from the Bued River. We get water from the river for our farms. People who wash or bath in the river could also be exposed to dangerous effluents," they said.

Environment officials have allegedly refused to monitor the activities of Philex concessionaires despite residents' repeated complaints. They say water of the Bued River is always muddy and dirty due to tailings and mining wastes from the crushing plants of Philex. Local Councillor Rodolfo Estolas said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had issued environmental compliance certificates but environmental officials are lax in their monitoring.

Last week, a resolution calling for an investigation of alleged hazardous mining activities was endorsed by the Benguet provincial board. It was sent to the regional DENR office. However, the DENR's mining and geo-sciences bureau denied the mine wastes of Philex were affecting the Bued River.

— with a report from Alfred Dizon, PDI Northern Luzon Bureau, 11/6/98