Apayao, Kalinga declared under state of calamity, Small-scale mining requirements under scrutiny

Baguio City – Apayao Governor Elias Bulut Jr. announced during a recent press conference that the province has been placed under state of Calamity while Kalinga was, likewise,  declared in a state of calamity by virtue of a Sanguniang Panlalawigan Resolution duly approved by Gov. Jocel Baac, both relative to the extent of damages caused by Typhoon Ompong.

In other developments, Itogon Mayor Victor Palangdan reports that he believes 99% of missing people already dead despite the ongoing search and rescue operations in the landslide that occurred in Ucab.

Palangdan also appealed to lawmakers to declare abandoned mining areas as alienable and disposable land to be used for other purposes while suggesting amendments in the requirement for application of minahang bayan.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu announced the cease and desist of all small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera and revoked permits of 10 holders of small-scale mining contracts in the Cordillera effective immediately. He also said he will be  strict on the location of minahang bayan. “Ilayo natin yung mga titirhan ng mga miners para hindi sila nasa geohazard areas”, he stated. Cimatu considered what happened in Itogon to a “wake up call.”

Meanwhile, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar reported that 11 more roads in the Cordillera are to open within the week. He added they already opened one-lane at the Itogon road this morning. Equipment and 27 personnel were sent to Itogon to help in the operations.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso, and La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda were also in attendance during the press briefing on the effects of the typhoon in Cordillera.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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