MANKAYAN, Benguet – Hundreds of small-scale miners in the municipality showed their concern for the sustainable preservation and protection of the environment by actively participating in a recent tree-planting activity despite the perception of the public that their operation is reportedly destructive of nature.
The small-scale mining groups headed by Manaseh Giles and Bernard Copite joined other sectors in the municipality in a recent tree-planting activity in Barangay Taneg to show their all-out commitment to the efforts of the municipal government to preserve and protect the environment.
Further, the pocket miner’s associations committed to continue their active participation on future environment preservation and protection efforts that will help in bringing back the greenery of the various mountains in the municipality.
Earlier, the municipal government embarked on an aggressive environmental preservation and protection program geared towards empowering the people in the different barangays to actively participate in regreening the town’s available public spaces.
Last year, the municipal council approved an ordinance that declared the conduct of the town’s Pine Tree Festival every May where various environmental preservation and protection programs and activities will be conducted during the said festival.
However, the Pine Tree Festival did not push through this year because of the strict implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown that caused the cancellation of major crowd drawing events in the different parts of the world as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong commended the unwavering and uncompromising commitment of the pocket miners not only to the various environmental preservation and protection programs of the local government, but also to civic activities beneficial to the greater majority of the populace amidst the temporary suspension imposed by the environment department on the small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera.
He pointed out that the civic mindedness of the small-scale miners should serve as an inspiration and motivation for other sectors of the municipality to be actively involved in civic-related activities being conducted in the various barangays to help in achieving the overall growth and development of the municipality and to inculcate in the minds of the people the importance of voluntarism among their ranks to realize a greater objective.
The local chief executive expressed optimism the municipal government can conduct the town’s Pine Tree Festival by May next year so that there will be significant achievement that will be realized in the efforts to improve the current state of the town’s environment that had been affected by the ongoing mining and farming activities in the different barangays.
Mayor Ayong stated that there should always be a balance in the ongoing economic activities of the people and the implementation of environmental preservation and protection programs so that the present and future generations will be able to inherit a good state of the environment.