Quake epicenter, closer to Marcopper -Phivolcs

STA. CRUZ, Marinduque – Phivolcs recorded a M 3.1 earthquake in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque on August 24, at 8:22:17 a.m. that has now been upgraded to magnitude 3.2.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology also revised its coordinates for the epicenter of the earthquake which is now at 13.43°N, 122.02°E. The new coordinates show that the epicenter is much closer to the Marcopper mine site than previously thought.

The Marcopper mine site keeps six dams, declared to be in various states of disrepair since the mine site was closed down and abandoned not long after the 1996 mine spill. Local and foreign scientific studies in 2004 have both confirmed that a catastrophic collapse of the dams could occur in the event of violent typhoons.

Places downstream could be wiped out if any of the walls of the dams are badly ruptured. The effects of past landslides and flash-flooding are quite visible in many areas.

In recent years, devastating typhoons and flash flooding have already been experienced in most towns of Marinduque. But, authorities concerned have largely adopted a devil-may-care attitude with respect to safety and health issues.

It is largely believed here that collusion between certain people involved with the company and some government authorities concerned, including environmental agencies unable to undertake serious inspection and monitoring of the mine site danger zones, have merely succeeded in putting the people in limbo over the current state of the dangerous dams hanging over them.

It is also largely believed that the interest to pocket proceeds out of the remaining escrow funds originality intended for clean-up of Boac River, but believed to have been reverted back to the company, is the major obstacle that continues to clog the mind of those prone to corruption.

But concerned Marinduquenos are still hopeful that the needed national intervention in the matter of addressing the many environmental, health, livelihood and legal issues that emanated from the Marcopper disasters would finally be addressed by the Duterte administration.

Eli J. Obligacion

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