ITOGON Mayor Victorio Palangdan has called on Environment Management Bureau (EMB) regional director Reynaldo Digamo to give more time to small-scale miners in the municipality in securing permits.
"I begged to him that they should give us more time for us to comply with the requirements of the EMB," said Palangdan.
The securing of a permit was imposed after a gold processing mill facility has disposed its waste at the Ambalanga River resulting to the discoloration of the water, reason why the EMB has ordered stoppage of small-scale mining in the area.
This eventually led to a signing of understanding between small-scale miners to secure the necessary permits from concerned government agencies.
"From the very beginning, they are illegal and they should stop but they are being allowed because the government understands their predicament that it is their only source of living," said Palangdan while small-scale miners in the town awaits for the approval of a Minahang Bayan.
The undertaking states "we the traditional and indigenous gold mill processors in Barangay Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet, view with alarm the recent sad incident wherein chemicals believe to have emanated from a gold processing mill facility was dumped in Gumatdang River; whereas, the actuation of the polluter has brought shame and embarrassment to the people of Gumatdang and has endangered the means of livelihood of the gold mill processors of this Barangay."
Small-scale miners were also ordered to dispose of their wastes properly by constructing their own tailings containment area and wastewater disposal facilities to avoid mining wastes from being dumped directly to the water.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on December 14, 2017.
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