House inquiry on Benguet mining operations pushed

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet July 04 – Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap disclosed that he will be initiating a House inquiry on the ongoing mining operations in Benguet to ensure that concerned stakeholders are strictly complying with the rules and regulations governing the practice of responsible mining in the extraction of minerals.

Aside from trying to ensure that existing mining companies practice sustainable and responsible mining, Yap claimed that the congressional inquiry is also aimed at looking into the labor regulations being allegedly violated by the different large-scale mining companies that are operating in the different parts of the province.

“Benguet is very rich in natural resources. We have to think long-term and prioritize how can we sustain it. This is not a matter of being pro or anti-mining. Mining is not the problem itself, the real problem lies on the standards and regulations of mining activities and on the non-compliance of mining companies,” Congressman Yap stressed.

The lawmaker came out with the proposed House inquiry following Thursday’s unfortunate incident in Yangon, Myanmar where a huge landslide occurred in a jade mining operation that killed more than 160 miners in the said site.

Congressman Yap pointed out that the Myanmar mining landslide is not an isolated incident in the lucrative mining industry as irresponsible mining tends to put its workers and communities at very high risk.

He emphasized that Benguet is home to many of the indigenous cultural communities and it is the responsibility of the government to protect the people and their land, thus, concerned government agencies and Congress will make sure that the province will be safe from the serious effects and dangers posed by irresponsible miners.

Among the large-scale mining companies that are still operating in Benguet include the multi-awarded Philex Mining Corporation, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, Benguet Corporation and Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc. which are operating in the towns of Tuba, Itogon and Mankayan over the past several decades.

Congressman Yap stipulated that irresponsible mining has no place in the country that is why the proposed House inquiry will try to uncover those companies that are involved in such practice so that the same will be able to adhere to the standards of responsible mining for the benefit of the present and future generation of inhabitants.

By Dexter A. See