TWELVE years after a major mining catastrophe there, toxic mine wastes still choke key waterways in Marinduque. The threat of more mine tailings pouring into Boac and Mogpog rivers and Calancan Bay also remains, as abandoned mine structures are in need of repairs. Despite these, there is renewed talk of opening up the province to mining again, upsetting many locals and concerned organizations.


This two-part investigative report revisits the site of what is still regarded as the country’s worst mining disaster, along with two other towns that had been most affected by the activities of the Marcopper Mining Corporation. The series details the health hazards posed by the abandoned mine wastes, and notes the lack of health personnel who could respond to the rising health needs of the affected communities. Already, medical experts have observed an increase in cases of diabetes, goiter, renal disease, spontaneous abortion, and even cancer in at least three towns in Marinduque.

With the Arroyo government’s aggressive marketing of the Philippines as a mining country, many fear that the Marinduque experience may serve as a standard in dealing with future mining disasters — with no one behind bars, the mess left behind, and the community virtually abandoned to fend on its own.

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