AT LEAST 30 sacks of gold ores were confiscated from four miners involved in illegal small-scale mining in Tuba, Benguet.
Initial investigation shows the Tuba police were informed that personnel of the Headquarters Support Group of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), apprehended Joey Diang Natiwed, Alvin Cholhang Busilin, Robert Bucyagan Sabey, Tony Bawayan Bangonan, all residents of Basa, Camp 6, Camp 4, Tuba, Benguet and Mark Tilan Gumiyac, resident of Ongasan, Baguio City, for alleged violation of illegal scale mining activities.
Personnel of PMA were conducting patrol along Basa when they encountered the suspects mining inside a tunnel. Arrested persons were brought to Tuba Municipal Police Station.
Confiscated from the suspects are four pieces of spotlight, shovel, two grab hoe, bolo, improvised wagon and 30 sacks of gold ores.
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 SSM activities in the Cordillera region last year after the massive landslide in Barangay Ucab in Itogon, Benguet in September last year that killed close to a hundred individuals.
Meanwhile, Itogon police arrested four individuals over the weekend at Goldfield, Poblacion, Itogon, caught in the act of illegally processing gold.
Arrested were Johnny Sembrano Blosok, 33, single, laborer; Roel Akfiawen Charog, 23, single, laborer; Crisostomo Kisman Todco, 22, single, laborer and Jason Te-en Mansueto, 34, single, laborer and residents of Goldfield, Poblacion.
Suspects and the confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Itogon police.