Residents of Barangays Sta. Lourdes and Tagburos affected by mercury contamination caused by an old and abandoned mining operation have agreed to be relocated but wanted assurance from government the affected areas will be rehabilitated.
Kagawad Gerardo Valeña of Santa Lourdes said most of his constituents living near a contaminated lake are willing to be relocated provided that there will be no structure to be constructed on the buffer zone and rehabilitation will really be implemented.
He added that the affected residents are asking if their relocation site will provide them livelihood opportunities and access to basic services, he added.
“Sa amin naman matagal nang napagkasunduan na payag silang ma-relocate, mapag-usapan lang ng maayos ang proseso, at saka matiyak na okay ang mapaglilipatan,” he said
The Department of Health and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau recently released the results of its field studies that showed prevalent incidence of mercury poisoning among the residents of the two villages.
The city government has identified Barangay Mangingisda as a possible relocation site for the families.
According to Valeña , the first batch of the relocation are some 75 households living near the pit lake.
Alfredo Dayuhan, who attended an information dissemination campaign about effects of mercury on Saturday, said he has no choice but to be relocated.
“Basta naman may mapaglilipatan lang, at may maayos kaming kabuhayan,” he said.
Tagburos Bgy. Captain Panficio Inocente said the residents of their village affected by mercury contamination in their area are also willing to be relocated, but added that no specific plan has been presented to them by authorities.