Clenro forms 24/7 anti-illegal mining task force-A A +A
Monday, October 21, 2013
A 24/7 anti-illegal mining task force in Cagayan de Oro City will soon be deployed along the Iponan riverbanks covering barangays Tumpagon, Pigsag-an, Tuburan, Tagpangi, and Pagalungan where rampant illegal mining operations have been reported.
City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) chief Edwin Dael told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the presence of these illegal mining operations are numbered as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), presidential anti-organized crime task force (PAOCTF), police, military, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Clenro will be finalizing today, October 21, the details of the deployment to put a stop on the illegal mining operations there.
Dael said the Writ of Kalikasan issued by the court provides Iponan river a legal remedy to protect it and get “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
“With the Writ of Kalikasan and the new city leadership, Clenro believes the time has come to go after these illegal mining operators who have been plundering the resources surrounding the river and disrupting its ecological balance for many years now resulting to siltation and other environmental damages,” he said.
Dael said that with the Writ of Kalikasan, even the National Government felt the need to rehabilitate Iponan river to prevent the flooding in the low-lying areas surrounding it to avoid a repeat of the Sendong tragedy.
PAOCTF has been involved in the task force to help dismantle these illegal miners, he said.
In September, Mayor Oscar Moreno joined in the creation of the task force and committed to provide two staff and some financial assistance to sustain the task force.
Dael said the task force would go after the hydraulic mining operations that occur nightly according to reports from Clenro’s informants living in those barangays.
“What is rampant now are the reported hydraulic mining operations. These areas don’t have accessible roads, thus, the task force members have to patrol on foot. They will rely on dispatches through mobile phones and VHF radio,” Dael said.
He said these illegal mining operations have armed escorts. To secure the task force, the involvement of the law enforcement agencies has been sought.
The task force would be initially deployed for three months, but it might also be extended depending on the logistics, he said.
Dael sees a more lowered siltation in the river once hydraulic mining operators decide to stop considering the city’s massive intervention through the task force.
Decreased sediment accumulation
Dael said the MGB detected lately using its instruments that the sediment accumulation at the Iponan river has decreased citing the removal of backhoes and barges as the reason.
He said the constant reports and photos posted on a social media site might have prompted the owners of the backhoes and barges to remove them from the barangays under Cagayan de Oro to barangays belonging to Opol town.
“This development is inspiring. And we are happy that Opol town mayor Max Seno has been very cooperative with the city’s effort that he (Seno) shooed away a mining company that didn’t get the social acceptability requirement,” Dael said.
Last week, Clenro seized a backhoe and a dump truck that are impounded and stored inside the city engineering compound along the junction of barangays Bayabas and Kauswagan here.
The alleged owner of the backhoe identified as Henry Yu, its operator Jessie Yañez, Terry Dacula, the dump truck driver, and the alleged owner of the dump truck, Bebina Cadili, have been notified to attend the deliberation on the seized heavy equipment this week.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 21, 2013.