THE mining town of Itogon in Benguet strives to switch to other ventures aside from small–scale mining.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said even if it becomes unpopular against small-scale mining, he will do it.
Palangdan said after the town was struck in the past by Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) that buried many lives to date, the town is going towards an alternative and switching to other livelihood.
“In Itogon, as much as possible we don’t like mining, it destroys, our environment. You can see there are many people who died from the experience of Ompong up to the present. We can now see the picture of what will happen to the municipality if mining will still continue so we would like to transform our municipality to agro forest tourism,” Palangdan added.
“Our municipality has been mined for more than 100 years. Can you imagine the extent of tunnels that were not backfilled? Can you imagine how many rivers were diverted just for the sake of mining Antamok where they apply open pit mining what is happening now? Mountains, rivers are destroyed. We are now teaching our people not to believe that small scale mining is still their livelihood. We can transform it slowly,” he added.
Palangdan said on the application of Minahang Bayan, they are recommending safe and responsible small scale mining and they do not tolerate that miners will continue to operate tunnels that were left by big mining corporation, Benguet Corporation.
He added once tunnels left by big mining companies these areas will be mined by small scale miners.
Palangdan fear that Barangay Ucab will be erased from the map of Itogon if mining is not stopped.
“So kahit maging unpopular mayor ako against this small scale mining I will do it. To stop this operation,” Palangdan stressed.
The chief executive said they are still monitoring gold processors and arresting those who insist on doing it.
“The municipality is distributing livelihood project to the people, not small scale mining, we continue our project to finance trainings of our people for employment,” he added.