STA. CRUZ, Zambales: Residents here slammed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for suspending four mining companies and depriving them of their livelihood.
Zambales is known to be rich in nickel and chromite, which attracts large-scale mining companies.
More than 2,500 workers were affected when Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Danilo Uykieng ordered the suspension of Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., and Lnl Archipelago Minerals Inc. for failing the regulatory evaluation test.
The Coalition of Mine Workers, Families and Communities (CMWFC) is pressing the DENR to lift the suspension so the workers can go back to work.
Spokesperson Orlan Mayor said that mining is the main livelihood of residents in the area.
“Malaking tulong ang trabaho namin sa minahan, wala naman ibang trabaho dito sa probinsiya maliban dyan. Pwede naman magsaka pero seasonal lang naman ‘yun [Working at the mining is a big help, there is no other job here in the province aside from that. We can farm but it’s only seasonal],” Mayor said.
“Paano na yung pamilya ng libong manggagawa ng mi–nahan kung patuloy kaming walang trabaho? [What will happen to the thousands of workers in the mining if we continue to be jobless?],” he added.
The group a caravan to protest the decision of DENR and held a mass afterwards on Saturday.