A recollection of massive flooding, contaminated mudflow and torrential rain and wind, which lasted for hours evoke strong sentiments among the residents of Sta. Cruz, Zambales on the 1st commemorative year for Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu). The strong but slow-moving typhoon affected almost 54,000 residents in this mining-affected town. However, sad the past year was for the town’s residents, they are more than ever vigilant on the mining operations that aggravates disasters.
Last October 18, 2015, Typhoon Lando brought immense flooding and heavy mudflow with huge amounts of red mud and cut-tree debris, which covered agricultural lands and brought various wreckage throughout the town and even in fishponds. “Typhoon Lando was the most horrible typhoon we have experienced here since Typhoon Cosme in 2008,” said Cristeta Sison a member of the Move Now! Alliance of organizations in Sta. Cruz has recalled.
These typhoon upshots were related by the residents to the massive large-scale corporate mining operations in the area. “We have been suffering from these mining operations for 10 years”, added Sison. There are 4 big mining companies situated in Sta. Cruz, Zambales and following Sec. Gina Lopez of DENR’s mining firm audit, she has conclusively suspended the same 4 mining firms as of September 22, 2016 namely BNMI, LNL Archipelago or LAMI, Eramen Minerals and DMCI.
A year later, communities are still recovering from the adverse effects of Typhoon Lando and from the different environmentally-destructive activities brought by large-scale mining. Presently, they are mostly wary of the incoming Typhoon Lawin and la niña phenomena because their lands and rivers have already been scoured and damaged by mining.
Ultimately, the people of Sta. Cruz, Zambales under the multi-sectoral alliance Move Now! together with the Center for Environmental Concerns, advocates and peoples organizations, demand justice for the damages brought by these large-scale mining corporations, fair compensation and rehabilitation measures for the affected residents of the municipality and call for the eventual closing of these big mining firms which brought dreadful after effects to the environment, people and communities. Also, we are calling for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 that institutionalizes the environmental plunder of these corporations.###