ILOILO CITY: The provincial government of Antique has dispatched a team culled from its provincial disaster and risk reduction management council to conduct an investigation on the July 17 collapse of a portion of the coal mining site of the Semirara Mining and Power Company. Nine are believed dead from the disaster.
In radio interview, Gov. Rhodora Cadiao of Antique said rains aggravated the landslide and collapse of the mining pit.
“Precautionary measures should have been in place,” the governor said in a separate interview at ABS-CBN. “This will undergo investigation. I hope there is no negligence on the part of the contractor.”
Semirara Island hosts the country’s biggest coal mine located within the Caluya group of islands off in northern Antique. Semirara Mining is a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings and supplies more than 90 percent of the total coal production in the country.
There were nine workers at the site when the accident happened and presumed buried alive.
Pauline Rose Geroche, municipal information officer of Caluya, said five were confirmed dead and four more still missing as of noontime of Saturday. The body of Bernie Manrique, 39, was recovered during retrieval operations at 3:40 am on Saturday. The body of Danilo Dayupan was found at 9:26 pm on Friday and subsequently the bodies of workers Alexander Nudo, Ricardo Panes, and Arnold Omac were retrieved. All five were heavy equipment operators.
Cadiao disclosed that on Friday noon, the Department of Energy ordered the temporary suspension of Contract 5 of the coal mining operations effective immediately in Semirara following the collapse of its Panian Pit 1 on Friday.