BENGUET Corporation (BC) continues to draw the ire of Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan for allowing small-scale miners to operate level 070 in Ucab.
Palangdan said the area has been closed for a long period of time and is considered an abandoned area but the BC still maintains ownership over the surface of the land.
The mayor said BC is responsible in making the necessary mine rehabilitation program to decommission the area.
“Dahil sa pagpimimina na hindi ni-rehabilitate ng Benguet Corp., under mining laws, a mining area should have been rehabilitated a long time ago,” he added.
Palangdan added mining activities in the area remain dangerous, however, many residents from other provinces in the region risk and venture to small scale mining, most especially in Benguet as an alternative livelihood.
Days before the typhoon hit the province, police asked those in the area to evacuate but to no avail.
After the landslide, Palangdan has sought the help of the national government against mining.
“Our municipality is already destroyed we cannot protect our environment because of this big mining company,” Palangdan said.
On September 19, Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional director Fay Apil said it is the responsibility of the mining company to guard their property as it is within their patented mining claim.
BC through President Leopoldo Sison III penned last May the National Task Force Mining Challenge (NTFMC) to permanently close illegal mining at Acupan, Gumatdang, and Antamok in Itogon.
The mining firm asked the NTFMC to use its powers to force the small scale miners to stop its illegal operations and for be relocated to minahang bayan areas.
Small-scale mining activities in the whole Cordillera region has been stopped by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu effective September 17 while search and retrieval operations continue in Itogon.