Mines bureau arrests illegal miners

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Friday, April 5, 2013


THREE suspected illegal miners were brought to the Cagayan de Oro City Prosecutor’s Office for an inquest proceeding after they were arrested Friday morning by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the police.

The MGB filed violations for Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, section 102 (Illegal Exploration) and 103 (Theft of Mineral) and Executive Order 79 against Chinese national You Cheng, Antonio Escudero of Maramag, Bukidnon; and Jesser Baguio of Barangay Tuburan, Cagayan de Oro City.

MGB Regional Director Rex Monsanto said the suspects were arrested after they operated the barge that DENR previously sealed for violations of illegal exploration and mineral theft.

“They operated the barge in Barangay Taglimao that was sealed by the DENR which is evidence against the illegal mining there. Now they operated it again at night,” Monsanto said.

Monsanto said that during the raid, the three were caught in the process of extracting gold from the sand in the river they were dredging.

The suspects do not have the license to mine, Monsanto said.

The Chinese national cannot present a work permit and an authorization to legally stay in the country.

Confiscated from the suspects were two plastic matting with mercury amalgam, half pail flusher gold concentrate, fine sand with mercury amalgam and a wooden pan, Monsanto said.

A test report from the MGB showed that some confiscated items contained gold and silver particles.

Baguio said he is not involved in the mining. He was only hired to secure the barge since he lives near the vicinity. Baguio claimed Cheng as his employer.

When pressed to identify his employer, Cheng refused to speak. The Geosciences bureau believed that Cheng is employed at KFNet Mining Corporation, one of the four companies charged by MGB earlier for illegal mining, mineral theft and illegal exploration.

The illegal mining activities in Iponan River have become a hotbed for discussions and debate among residents and in social media in the city.

Civil society organizations Sulog, One Sendong is Enough and Bangon Kagay-an led the filing of the Writ of Kalikasan, a legal move to stop all mining activities in the rivers here.

The Writ of Kalikasan was signed on February 15, 2013 at the Court of Appeals 22nd Division. (Bobby Lagsa, Correspondent)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 06, 2013.

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