Several non-government organizations are seeking for a deeper probe into the coal mine accident in Antique province wherein at least nine workers died, citing the alleged lack of safety precautions in the area.
The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) said employers should be held criminally liable for failing to ensure the safety of their workers and that it joins the Filipino workers in calling for justice for the victims of the incident.
The group said five workers also died in the same area, which is managed by the Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) last February 13, 2013.
“Mining is considered as one of the most hazardous occupations. The Department of Labor and Employment should never be complacent in monitoring mining companies’ strict compliance with health and safety standards,” said IOHSAD advocacy officer Nadia de Leon.
De Leon said that it appears that the workers were asked to report for work despite the dangers posed by continuous heavy rains in the coal mine area from July 1 to 14, which could have loosened the soil and caused the collapse of tons of soil, burying the workers and heavy equipment.
Obet de Castro, Koalisyong Makabayan deputy secretary-general told The Manila Times that they urge Congress to intervene and conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
The objective of the probe is to determine the exact crime the mining company committed against the environment and its workers rather than allowing the Department of Energy to proceed with its probe.
Aside from the death of nine workers, there is still a need to conclude whether the missing workers have also died since they have not yet been found.
The SMPC on Monday issued a statement saying that the company will give P1 million to the grieving families.
The company also pledged to facilitate the life and accident insurance claims of the victims, funeral expanses and additional funds to cover their transportation costs and other inciden- tal expenses.
The children of the victims will also be provided funds for their education all the way to college.