MANILA, July 22 (PNA) — Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom of the DOLE regional office yesterday reported to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz that the regional office is coordinating with the investigating team of the Department of Energy and has allocated an initial sum of P100,000 in livelihood assistance for the families of the nine victims of the landslide at the West Panian mine of Semirara Coal and Power Corporation (SCPC) in Semirara Is., Caluya, Antique.
“We have finalized the initial assistance to be provided the families of the nine landslide victims after our Engr. Milson delos Reyes discussed with them the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP). Some of them would like to engage in livestock farming while some of them would like to engage in trading and grocery sale,” said Regional Director Ligutom in his report.
Ligutom said he instructed Engr. delos Reyes not to leave Semirara Is. until the project proposals for the livelihood assistance were completed. Engr. delos Reyes was in Semirara to join the investigation being conducted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Department of Energy, Philippine National Police, and the local government unit of Caluya on the landslide at the SCPC mine site.
Ligutom further reported that the bodies of two of the three other missing victims have been recovered and identified to be those of Noel Penola, dump truck driver, and Ian Catulay, also a dump truck driver. The retrieval of the remaining victim, Danilo Bayhon, continues, he said.
Earlier, the retrieval personnel recovered the remains of workers Dixon Daupan, wheel dozer operator; Bernie Manrique, coal quality inspector; Alexander Nudo, dump truck driver; Arnold Omac, dump truck driver; Ricaredo Panes; dump truck driver; and Generoso Talaro, operator excavator.
As the Department of Energy had halted work in the SCPC mine site, Director Ligutom had reminded the management that mine workers who are not working, or on standby, because of the work stoppage, must be continually paid of their salary. DOLE records shows the company has 608 workers working in two shifts.
Baldoz said the Department of Energy is on top of the Semirara coal mine investigation, but the DOLE is providing assistance and coordinating with the Department.
She said coal mine safety and health and sanitation is under the mandate of the Department of Energy under P.D. 972, as amended by P.D. 1174, specifically Bureau of Energy Development Circular No. 1, S. 1978, otherwise known as “Coal Mine Safety Rules and Regulations” and Circular No, 81-11-10, “Guidelines for Coal Operations in the Philippines”.
“These circulars prescribe safety rules for underground and surface mine operations covering requirements for exit, escape ways, submission of mine maps, ventilation, and allowable limits of toxic and explosive gases. They also provide for safety rules for the control of coal dust, ground support, rescue organization for emergency situations, fire protection, handling of explosives, health and sanitation facilities, and other miscellaneous safety rules,” said Baldoz.
According to Baldoz, the DOLE is mandated to ensure the implementation of general labor standards (GLS) for all workers both working on surface and underground mining operations, while occupational safety and health regulations cover only those working in the offices, as mine site operations are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy.
Last 11 May 2015, Certificates of Compliance with GLS and OSH for office workers were issued by the DOLE Regional Office No. 6 to SCPC.(PNA)