POLICE operatives of Opol town in Misamis Oriental have recently formed a task force that would go after operators of illegal hydraulic mining that affects Iponan River in Cagayan de Oro.

Headed by Opol Police Superintendent Rogelio Labor, task force "Tina-aw sa Suba sa Iponan" has already started monitoring illegal hydraulic mining activities in the mountains and within the vicinity of Iponan River and the neighboring town of Opol.

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Labor said the task force was able to confiscate four machines used for small-scale hydraulic mining on July 11 at Sitio Araw-Araw in Barangay Bagocboc, Opol town.

"By the time we arrived at the area, the operators or the persons doing the illegal mining were no longer there, only the machines were left so we confiscated them for evidence," Labor said.

He claimed that most of the mining activities are conducted in Bukidnon province but still affects Opol town and Barangay Iponan.

"There are around 80 illegal small-scale mining activities within the mountains of Opol and the boundary of Bukidnon. It is very difficult to catch them because they have assets who informed them ahead when we do our operation," Labor said.

As a counter measure, he said they also have assets who do the monitoring of illegal mining activities uphill.

Labor said in coordination with local police operatives, they usually do surprise raids of these illegal mining sites passing through Barangay Lumbia going straight upwards to Barangays Bagocboc and Tangalan in Opol and to Barangays Taglimaw, Tuburan and Pigsan-an in Cagayan de Oro.

"We really have to do something about this illegal mining activities considering that it is already the rainy season. We cannot afford another flood to happen in Iponan and Opol because of hydraulic mining. The mountains are getting bald because of the rampant mining and it is very dangerous when rain comes," Labor said. (Nicole J. Managbanag)