THE Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) called on the local government unit of Itogon, Benguet to conduct some actions against illegal mining activities in the municipalities to avoid casualties brought about by the rains particularly this rainy season.
Commodore Albert Mogol, Office of the Civil Defense Cordillera (OCD–CAR) director and CDRRMC chairman said a letter was sent to Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan to create a task force that would ensure the suspension and even closure of illegal mining operations in town.
“Mayor Victorio Palangdan immediately reacted to our letter sent to him by creating a municipal task force to address the anti-illegal mining activities in the municipality of Itogon. The purpose here is to avoid possible disasters involving miners and to remind them that during this rainy season, they should stop their mining activities,” Mogol said.
Although an existing cease and desist order is present, the CDRRMC chairman still noticed the illegal operation of small-scale mining in the municipality prompting him to issue the letter.
“When we conducted an ocular inspection just recently, I still saw small scale mining operations even at ground zero, and this has been discussed with the officials of Itogon. We could not control them because this is their livelihood but there are line agencies of government like DTI, DOLE, DSWD which offers livelihood projects but they still insist to operate because mining activities has been their way of life,” CDRRMC Chairman stated.
In June this year, the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) set the reactivation of its mining task force to in preparation for the typhoon season to ensure the prevention of mining related disasters similar to what happened in Itogon, Benguet last year brought about by Typhoon Ompong.
“There is an existing task force wherein the DENR is the chairman, but aside from the task force of DENR, it is better that the local government themselves initiate actions directly benefiting their constituents. And upon seeing the operation of small scale mining in Itogon, I immediately informed their Municipal DRRM Officer before the opening of classes and the local government of Itogon assured they will do everything to prevent a disaster and to discourage their constituents for doing these activities which will put them in danger,” Mogol added.
Although OCD identified other small scale mining activities in the region, it had focused on Itogon because of the wide area which contains illegal small scale mining operation to prevent the reoccurrence of the disaster which claimed many lives last year. (Jonathan Llanes)