MARINDUQUE 2011: The Marcopper Mine Experience

A day shy of 15 years from the Marcopper Tailings spill in March 24, 1996, I was able to visit this controversial minesite in Mogpog, Marinduque.  Travelled by boat from Dalahican Port in Lucena to Balanacan Port in Marinduque. 

The visiting team consist of technical consultant of Task Force Marcopper -RDQ, two personnel from MGB RegionIVB and HLPB and me from MGB-CO. Our first task upon arrival was to pay due courtesy to the PENRO Officer and the Governor. 
Courtesy call to Governor Carmencita
After the meeting, we had to take this photo to document the said activity. I loved how hospitable Governor Carmencita was, and very open to ideas. This was actually our second meeting. But the first was a brief one, back in 2010, when we were lucky enough to be in the island when they captured and released a sea turtle. When she learned Hanna and I were from MGB, she bombarded us with questions like "What's the bureau been doing about the Marcopper Spill?" "Why is it taking so long to come up with a decision?" Being newbies in the bureau back then, our knees wobbled. We played it cool and told her our purpose for coming to the island is a visit to another (low profile) minesite. Now look at us arm to arm for this photo. 
Super close with the governor.
Then off to the actual fieldwork. This photo while we orient ourselves with the structures of the mine.
Orientation on the status of the mine.

These gigantic hauling trucks gives a clue to the stature of the mine during its heydays before the very unfortunate spill. Today, it is lined up in a very orderly manner like soldiers waiting for the next command.  It now rusts and slowly degrades with every gush of wind and drop of rain, uncertain it will ever be used again. 
The dog stealing my spotlight..
We had lunch at an elementary/secondary school which Marcopper built for the community during its operation. They are proud of the quality of education that they provide to a handful of students left enrolled in their school. When I asked the teachers on their thoughts on the mine possibly re-opening again, their faces showed glee. They said the town became poor when the mine closed. Most people they know lost their jobs, and the all of the community programs that the mine provided stopped.

While outsiders rally so that the mine won't be opened again, arguing destruction of nature, insiders would like to fill their cup again.. 

This trip was to me an eye-opener... Where do we set the balance? 


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