MANKAYAN, Benguet – The municipal government is doing its best to look for alternative livelihood for the displaced small-scale miners and other vulnerable sectors in the municipality for them to have established sources of livelihood that will help in uplifting the living condition of their families.
Mayor Frenzel Ayong admitted that the stoppage of small-scale mining operations in the region that was ordered by environment officials nearly a year ago had a serious negative impact to the sources of livelihood of the thousands of pocket miners who rely on pocket mining as their source of livelihood for decades now that is why the local government is closely coordinating with concerned government agencies, the provincial government and the private sector to provide whatever needed assistance that will result to the creation of available jobs for the displaced pocket miners and other vulnerable sectors in the community.
“We started talking with our pocket miners to venture in vegetable farming and other available sources of livelihood while awaiting for whatever the appropriate action of concerned government agencies on the status of the small-scale mining industry in various parts of the region. We sought their cooperation to the temporary stoppage of pocket mining operations so that it will not affect whatever decision that will be handed down by the authorities in the future,” Mayor Ayong stressed.
The local chief executive claimed that while it is true that different small-scale miners’ associations in the municipality were able to file their applications for the establishment of Minahang Bayan areas in the town, the same will have to pass through a tedious process that is why it will take some time for concerned agencies to approve their applications which will result to the absence of their sources of livelihood, thus, the need for concerned government agencies to get their acts together in providing them alternative sources of livelihood for the meantime.
According to him, some of the pocket miners already shifted to vegetable farming while the others opted to work for other people who have vast tracks of agricultural lands in the municipality and other neighboring towns while awaiting the decision of environment authorities on the status of pocket mining in the region.
Ayong assured the pocket miners and members of vulnerable sectors in the municipality that he will continue to ventilate their issues and concerns to the concerned government agencies for them to be acted upon to ensure that there will no sector that will be left out in the government’s effort to achieve inclusive growth in the countryside.
He appealed to the pocket miners not to take unnecessary actions that will create a negative impression on their failure to cooperative with prescribed rules and regulations that might affect their decisions on whether or not to lift the stoppage order on small-scale mining in the region.
He claimed that pocket miners in the municipality are strictly complying with the temporary stoppage order to show their commitment to adhere to the regulations that will be issued by the concerned government agencies regarding their activities for them to be able to convince the proper authorities on the need to lift the stoppage order for them to resume regulated small-scale mining in their areas of operation.