THE Regional Investigation and Assessment Team (RIAT) composed of seven members will start the conduct of investigation on the Antamok, Itogon Tailings Leak, starting February 10 to be chaired by the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB).

“It will be the RIAT who will conduct the determination and validation of such claims,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environment and Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) OIC regional director Reynaldo Digamo.

Residents from Antamok are preparing documents and other evidence to prove their claims following the tailings leak last year that will be submitted to EMB before the conduct of an investigation.

SunStar Baguio learned some claimants whose properties were affected by the tailings flow have expressed their decisions not to remove the tailings which filled their lots.

“These properties that were affected which accordingly, the owners requested the company not to remove the materials anymore,” Digamo said.

Residents affected by the tailings leak claimed alleged fish kills affecting their livelihood, poor water quality, washed out gold panelling materials and hose during the rush of tailings flow.

Benguet Corporation in response said, they will act on this as soon as the formal complaints have been filed to their office and they will transfer the more than 5,000 collected tailings in sacks to a safer ground or back to the pond after measures have been firmly corrected and applied.

Digamo said with regards to fish kill, the affected individuals have to confirm with the authorities their real source of livelihood is fishing and not merely as source of food.

“If this is the source of their income, then, let’s work on the documents and attributing factors which caused the loss,” he added.

During the regulating agencies monitoring, they have also conducted water sampling with Digamo confirming the water remains safe.