LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Following the revival of the Task Force Mining Challenge, collective sentiments of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) of Benguet was raised to the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.
Through a resolution, the PMRB said it has come to their attention that RLECC has reactivated its mining task force but the committee did not coordinate with the board.
“Notwithstanding of the laudable purpose of the RLECC in activating its Mining Task Force, the PMRB of Benguet views with alarm the reactivation without proper coordination with the board since it has declared Minahang Bayan or Peoples Small-Scale Mining Areas in many parts of Benguet province in accordance with RA7076,” the PRMB stated.
RLECC announced in June they are set to reactivate the mining task force to ensure prevention of mining-related disasters.
PMRB Benguet added among the reasons advanced by the RLECC in activating its mining task force is the alleged precautionary measure that has to be imposed due to the onset of the rainy season and the attendant typhoons.
“There are many SSM areas in province which has been operating on or before August 1, 1967 and as provided for in Section 23 of RA7076 these small-scale miners shall not be ejected or removed from their operation and the mineralized land shall be declared as Minahang Bayan by the PMRB,” the board added.
PMRB said the identification of hazardous areas should be properly coordinated with agencies which has acquired proper expertise and technical knowhow and should not just be left at the discretion of the law enforcement agencies.
The resolution was forwarded to the RLECC through chair Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson for their consideration and appropriate action.
To recall, the National Task Force Mining Challenge augmented by the elements of Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the National Bureau of Investigation mandated to close or stop the alleged illegal small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera region.
The operation was set following the orders of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to stop all illegal small scale mining activities in the Cordillera region last year after the massive landslide in Barangay Ucab in Itogon, Benguet that killed close to 100 individuals.