City Council told: Stop blaming and fight illegal mining

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

THE Cagayan de Oro City Council was urged by one of its members on Monday to stop the blaming and focus on the fight against illegal mining operations in the hinterlands, after an alleged foreign company was discovered financing illegal mining activities by another councilor.

“It’s not easy to curtail all the illegal activities in our hinterland villages. Not then, not now,” said President Elipe during the City Council’s session Monday.

Elipe said the City Council should not live in the past.

“Instead of blaming the previous administration, why not ask ourselves what we can do about the illegal mining operations,” said Elipe.

He added that the present administration should stop all the illegal activities, especially illegal mining.

Elipe said there are a lot of illegal activities happening in the hinterlands of the city.

“If the thrust of this administration is to hunt down all illegal activities, I would go along with that thrust,” Elipe added.

Illegal mining

During Monday’s City Council session, committee on environment and natural resources chairperson Zaldy Ocon presented the evidence he gathered on the alleged foreign illegal mining operations in Sitio Monique, Barangay Dansolihon.

Ocon went to Monique on October 18 this year to conduct an investigation and document all the evidences of the illegal mining activities.

The mining activity, according to Ocon, was operated by a Chinese owned mining company that has been in the area for the last two years.

Upon his visit, Ocon discovered mining equipment like the magnetic separator, rotation device, power control, crusher machines, wielding machines and weighing equipment.

He added that magnetic separators are used to separate iron and other minerals.

Ocon cited in his special report that processing methods of minerals have been conducted in the area which proves that the mining operation occurred.

No permit

Ocon said he sent an inquiry to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) about the permit of the said illegal mining operation.

“The MGB said their office has not granted permit to the said mining operation,” said Ocon.

With regard to the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of the said mining operation, Ocon added that the Environmental Management Bureau (MGB) did not grant permit to the company.

However, Ocon wondered why the Misamis Oriental-1 Rural Electric Service Cooperative Inc. (Moresco-1) provided the company with electricity to continue with its operations.

Ocon said that the City Building Officials granted a permit leading to a temporary service connection of electricity.

Councilor Roger Abaday said the village officials should also use their authority to stop the illegal mining operations.

“There is a call for village officials that they should be environmentally concerned and should participate to stop illegal operations in their areas,” said Abaday.

He said the attention of the village officials should be called to effectively battle against this problem.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 03, 2013.

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