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MGB, BFAR monitor Philex mine tailing dam repair; lift ban on fishing in Agno river

BAGUIO CITY, Oct. 31 — The joint teams of experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have lifted the ban on fishing in Agno River.

MGB regional director Faye Apil said this was one of the results of the teams' regular monitoring of the effects of the spillage at the mine tailings of Philex Mines at the height of typhoon "Gener".

Records show that Philex mine tailings dam number 3 was breached by the floodwaters accumulated during the onslaught of typhoon Gener, and flowed towards Agno river and other tributaries.

Fearing the effects of the spillage , the DENR and BFAR have to impose the ban on fishing in the affected rivers to safeguard the health and safety of residents.

"Based on the results of the joint examinations and inspections, the fishes within the affected rivers are now safe for human consumption. This is why we have already officially lifted the fishing ban," she said.

In a related development, Apil said the one billion peso fine imposed by the DENR against Philex Mine stands even as the mining company tried to argue that what happened was a fortuitous event.

Like previous prolonged monsoon rains, it was during that two-week period in July after a series of typhoons, the strongest of which was typhoon "Gener", when the Province of Benguet suffered most of the landslides and destructions.

Apil however said that the DENR remains steadfast on its decision to impose the fine considering "the damage to environment resulting to the flow of mine tailings to our rivers."

She added, however, that the DENR has found Philex's efforts to rehabilitate the area and repair the damaged wall of the mine tailings dam are in accordance to standards. (PNA)

FPV/AAG

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