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ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government is setting its sights on a 9-hectare patented mining claim of a prestigious mining company as the proposed site for the establishment of the town’s public cemetery as the same has not been used for the firm’s large-scale mining operations over the past several decades.
Mayor Victorio Palangdan stated his administration will pursue the demolition of illegal structures erected by informal settlers in portions of the patented mining claim of the aforesaid mining company to convert this to a site for the proposed public cemetery, although the initial dismantling of the illegal structures had been restrained by a local court despite the existence of conclusive evidence on the presence of informal settlers in portions of the aforesaid property.
He pointed out that the proposed site for the town’s public cemetery is suitable for the said purpose because of its rolling terrain so that the municipality will have its permanent site for its public cemetery.
The municipal chief executive said the municipal government will manage the proposed public cemetery similar to the management and operation of the Baguio City Public Cemetery situated within a 9-hectare property along Naguilian Road.
According to him, the municipal government will pursue the put up of the public cemetery within the large-scale mining company’s patented mining claim before the end of his term next year so that the municipality will have a site for the burial requirements of residents.
Mayor Palangdan expressed optimism that the pending restraining order issued by the court against the demolition of the illegal structures erected by informal settlers over portions of the patented mining claim will be resolved the soonest to pave the way for the enforcement of the dismantling of the illegal structures and allow the development of the area into a municipal cemetery.
He claimed the municipal government must now have its own public cemetery after a long search for a suitable site for the said purpose thus efforts will be done to prepare the site for the eventual operation of the public cemetery in the identified area.
The mayor explained the company might not be interested to develop the same for its mining operations because of the alleged absence of sufficient ore deposits thus it will be best to covert the same into a public cemetery with the consent of the mining company to avoid the area from being invaded by informal settlers that might make it difficult for the company to dismantle illegal structures erected in the various portions of the property.
Itogon is one of the three municipalities in Benguet that hosts large-scale mining companies with the bulk of its resources coming from its share from the wealth taxes paid by the companies over the past several decades. By HENT