Military blamed for failing to stop mining in Bukidnon-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
THE military failed to implement the cease-and-desist order on the illegal mining operations in Barangay Dao, San Fernando town in Bukidnon, said Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer (Penro) Felix Mirasol Jr.
“Nag-refer na ‘mi sa armadong kusog, dili nila kayang ipa-undang (We referred the case to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but they failed to stop the operations),” said Mirasol in a dialogue between the lumad organization Kalumbay and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Northern Mindanao Wednesday.
He added that his office requested the military to implement the cease-and-desist order but they (AFP) replied that the situation is “complicated.”
The order was issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR-Northern Mindanao to halt the illegal mining operations in the area.
“Problema gyud ang Dao (Dao is really a problem),” said Mirasol, adding that the tribal leaders in the area told them that armed individuals who are also lumads control the mining operations there.
Alde “Butsoy” Salusad is the leader of the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (Nipar) in Dao.
Mirasol said that even police officers cannot serve the warrant of arrest against Butsoy Salusad since he is armed.
Virgilio Alima, representative of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office from Bukidnon, said they could not get inside the mining site.
“Taman ra ‘mi sa munisipyo, dili pasudlan ang area (We can only go until the municipal hall, they don’t allow us to get inside the area),” said Alima.
Mirasol said they too could also not enter Dao.
“Dili siya makita, si Butsoy, kay naay mga armas (We cannot locate Butsoy, they have firearms),” said Mirasol, as they tried to take pictures of him.
Salusad publicly admitted on radio in March 2012 that he killed the late Dao village chief Jimmy Liguyon.
Also in the same month, families threatened by Salusad held a camp out in front of the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol fearing for their lives.
Army waits for request
“It’s not that we cannot control Butsoy, we’re just waiting for their (DENR) request,” said Captain Christian Uy, spokesperson for the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division via phone interview Wednesday evening.
Uy said they (AFP) can enforce the law especially when there is a threat to the life of the people.
He added that if there is a deputization, or if the DENR will send a request to the army regarding the implementation of the cease-and-desist order, the military will surely assist them.
“We are waiting for the DENR to initiate the steps,” said Uy, adding that the AFP will accompany them even though they do not have enough army detachments in the area.
On Wednesday, Kalumbay camped outside the DENR-Northern Mindanao compound that prompted a dialogue demanding the department to conduct an investigation to stop the illegal mining operations in San Fernando town.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 17, 2013.