MGB probes mine activity near school-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
ITOGON, Benguet -- Officials and teachers of Barangay Ucab in this town implored the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)–Cordillera to conduct an investigation on the alleged illegal mining activity being conducted near a public school.
George Dean Baywong, MGB–Small Scale Mining Section Supervising Science research specialist, said they are now conducting the investigation this month to prove the allegation and for preventive measures.
The request for investigation came up when the illegal small scale miners insisted on their activities even with the presence of cease and desist order from the barangay chief Eduardo Daniel. The activity is being done 100 meters away from the Goldcreek Elementary School and is located in a residential area in Ucab.
On February 25, teacher–in–charge Sheila Wakit wrote a letter to Daniel informing him of the illegal activity that could affect the school and the community as well. Department of Education–Benguet Division Schools Division Superintendent Nancy Lumbas was also informed prompting her to write a separate letter to the Daniel requesting for an investigation.
After receiving the letters from the teachers, Daniel wrote the illegal operators Julius Fianza and Marco Fianza to stop their mining activities but to no avail. With this, the barangay officials reported the situation to the MGB and requested the agency to take charge of the investigation.
Baywong revealed among the towns in Benguet, Itogon has the problematic situation on small scale mining because miners are always insisting on their illegal activities despite orders. He said the persistence of miners was driven by the current high value of gold which is at P2,000 plus per gram unlike before which was P300.
Moreover, the specialist said the miners are also being pushed by poverty; thus, miners became persistent despite not having any permits.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 23, 2013.