WITH reports of small-scale mining activities in Itogon, Mayor Victorio Palangdan issued Memorandum Order 04 to activate the municipal task force against illegal mining in the town.
Palangdan said only one area has been declared as Minahang Bayan in Itogon and, technically, all small-scale mining activities outside the minahang bayan area are illegal.
"Several small-scale mining activities, including processing, has been observed and these resulted [in] indiscriminate release of waste containing chemicals which in turn resulted [in] fish kill along the Agno River within barangays Tinongdan and Dalupirip," the memorandum read.
The task force is led by the mayor, the town's chief of police as vice-chair and a representative from Benguet Corporation as co-vice chair. Members are composed of the Itogon Municipal Council committee chair on environment and barangay captains of Itogon.
The local task force is set to formulate and recommend policies, as well as monitor and stop all activities related to illegal mining in the town.
Several stakeholders in the town agreed and decided to take upon themselves to proactively enforce the stoppage of illegal mining activities within Itogon.
The municipal task force must submit and report all incidents to the Office of Benguet Governor, the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board of Benguet, Department of the Interior and Local Government-Benguet, and the Philippine National Police-Benguet.
In an earlier order on August 5, the chief of police of Itogon and all barangay officials of Ampucao, Tuding, Gumatdang, Ucab, Loacan, Poblacion, and Virac were enjoined to have collaborative efforts in the stoppage of operations of processing plants for gold recovered applying the method of leaching pads and carbon-in-pulping the town.