February 24, 2024 (9:59 PM)

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PAGLAMBONG WALAY HUSTISYA. Local progressive groups and environmental advocates in Davao City held a picket rally on February 20, 2024, at the Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue, urging the Apex Mining Company and local authorities to take accountability for the recent Masara landslide tragedy, resulting in the death of 98 individuals, 8 missing, and displacing over 1,345 families in Mawab,Davao de Oro. Photo by Toni Anne Albarico

Resurfacing the pressing issues of open-pit mining in Davao, various progressive and environmental groups protested to suspend APEX Mining’s operations in Davao de Oro amid the Masara Landslide tragedy.

“Ang bag-o lang nga landslide nagsilbi nga dakong pahinumdom sa nagbalikbalik nga mga katalagman nga nalambigit sa pagkadaot sa kinaiyahan sa pagmina nga gihimo sa Apex Mining Company, lakip ang 2008 nga landlside ug ang 2012 nga pagbaha human sa Bagyong Pablo,” Panalipdan Youth Davao representative Mawing Pangadas said during the picket rally.

Pangadas criticized APEX Mining’s claims, where they stated that the landslide incident did not take place inside their workplace. However, Masara has been at high risk for landslides since 2008, declaring the area a “No Build Zone.” 

Anakbayan Southern-Mindanao representative Beverly Gofredo also highlighted the injustices held against the workers of APEX mining, as they practice unhealthy greed-for-profit actions.

“Maski nagaagi ang rehiyon sa dili paborable na klima ug grabe na ulan, nagpadayon gihapon ug operate ang APEX Mining. Sa iyang pagkahakug, ang katawhan ang nahimong biktima.”

According to Gofredo, Apex Mining has been operating in Masara for over 50 years, and she believes that the company bears a significant responsibility for environmental degradation. 

“98 ka biktima sa landslide..more than 30 ang workers ng APEX mining ang namatay. More than 40 nga resident sa Masara ang namatay sa landslide,” she told Atenews.

It has also been one year since the Department of Natural Resources issued a violation report to Apex Mining due to exploitation activities of the Maco gold mine, leading to a landslide just last year. 

“Naga-operate gihapon syag padayon, bilyon bilyon ang aginansya tungod sa dugay na pagoperate nila,” Gofredo said.

The issues of large-scale mining in Mindanao were further accentuated by Kalikasan People for the Network Coordinator Jon Bonifacio, who stated that these catastrophic environmental impacts have led to “corporate negligence and impunity in the country.”

“Apex Mining and other mining companies in Mindanao have clearly endangered the lives of hundreds [of people],” Bonifacio mentioned in the wake of the February 6 landslide at a mining village in Masara, Maco town, last February 13, 2024.

The landslide occurred in Masara, Davao de Oro’s mountain village, after weeks of heavy rains. As of now, the death toll from a massive landslide that hit a gold-mining town in the southern Philippines has risen to 98, with eight still missing. 

The rally was held last February 20 at Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue, Davao City.



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