ITOGON, BENGUET- The strict implementation of environmental laws in the mining industry that leads to the closure of some irresponsible companies operating in the country by the national government does not exempt the small scale mining activity in the Cordillera.
Hundreds of families dependent in small scale mining in the municipality of Itogon in Benguet will be affected if the government decides to stop all small mining activities outside of those declared Minahang Bayan.
The effect of closure to the survival of these people prompted Mayor Victorio Palangdan on this municipality to ask the national government grant clemency for small scale mining.
“While we are preparing the road map for the Minahang Bayan under our Comprehensive Land Use Plan we ask the government not to stop the on-going operation of small scale mining in our jurisdiction”. Palangdan said during an interview at RPN-Radyo Ronda Baguio.
At present 90 percent of the people of Itogon depend on small scale mining as their livelihood.
“Definitely including the business sector in the municipality and the adjacent areas will be affected if closure will push through.” He added.
The municipal government also asked pocket miners to be environmentally responsible so as not to instigate the government to close their source of livelihood.
Palangdan reveals that they are eyeing for a two hectare land area to be declared as official minahang bayan for the municipality.
While they are processing for the declaration to be applied at the Mines and Geo- Sciences Bureau, the local government is convincing these miners to be responsible.
“We will not tolerate mining activities that will contribute in the destruction of our environment, strict monitoring is being conducted so that they will follow environmental laws”. He said.
Continuous training is being conducted to small scale miners to equip them with proper skills in rescue operation considering the nature of their work that danger is always imminent.
The municipal government is now requiring them to plant trees and to backfill their abandoned mining areas, and to always observe proper disposal of their mining waste.
Palangdan warned that they will not tolerate irresponsible mining in their area. JOSEPH MANZANO