Inspect, shut down large-scale mines in typhoon Pablo’s path—Kalikasan

AS the Philippines braces itself against the upcoming tropical storm Bopha (Pablo), Kalikasan Party-list today warned government agencies to be on red alert for the storm’s impacts on vulnerable communities where large-scale mining operations are ongoing.

“The DENR should be ready to inspect and shut down operations of all large-scale mining sites lying in typhoon Pablo’s path,” Kalikasan Party-list National President Clemente Bautista, Jr. said in a statement. The typhoon is currently expected to hit the Mindanao and Visayas regions in the coming days.

Many mining disasters in the past occurred during periods of heavy rains, which typhoon Pablo is expected to bring. Among the incidents that happened before was the 2005 Rapu-Rapu mine spill in Albay and this year’s Philex mine spill in Benguet province, which is the worst mine disaster to hit the Philippines so far, Bautista noted.

The group also warned communities to prepare for the threats posed by the tropical storm.  “The Philippines is visited by around 19 typhoons each year, which have triggered heavy flooding in large areas in the country. We urge the public to remember three major steps to prepare for the coming storm. First, be aware of the risks and hazards in your local area. Second, inform your communities of these risks while there is still a window of time to do so. Preparedness of local government units to handle disaster situations and emergencies must also be checked and augmented immediately,” Kalikasan said.

The group also said that the release of water in areas with dams should also be done carefully and with the knowledge of affected communities and local government units. Preparation of communities along the river downstream from the dam should be ready when dam managers release excess water from heavy rains.

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