BANGUED, Abra – Former Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin recommended to Benguet and Itogon officials to work out the conduct of skills training by the Cordillera office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA-CAR) to the thousands of displaced small-scale miners who will be affected by the stoppage of mining operations for them to have alternative sources of livelihood for their families.
Bersamin, who was monitoring the developments of the visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in La Trinidad, Benguet Monday, underscored what is important for the displaced small-scale miners is for them to undergo their desired skills training in coordination with TESDA so that they will be equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge which they could use to embrace other sources of livelihood aside from being engaged in pocket mining.
“It is high time for the affected small-scale miners to undergo a shift in their sources of livelihood by embracing the skills trainings that will be provided them by the concerned government agencies and local government. We have to make do with the standing order of the government for the total stoppage of pocket mining activities in the Cordillera, thus, it will be appropriate for them to venture on other sustainable sources of livelihood apart from mining,” former Gov. Bersamin stressed.
The former Abra governor disclosed that after having undergone the skills trainings to be provided them by TESDA, the group of small-scale miners should form themselves into a cooperative and subsequently request funding assistance from concerned government agencies for them to stat the operation of a sustainable business that will serve as their sources of livelihood for their families.
Earlier, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the total stoppage of all legal and illegal small-scale mining activities in the different parts of the Cordillera to pave the way for the investigation on the tragic landslide incident that buried nearly a hundred people alive who were in a banckhouse turned chapel at Ucab, Itogon, Benguet.
According to him, local officials should be the first ones to convince their constitutes to embrace whatever skills trainings that are available with the concerned government agencies because it is part of their overall growth and development considering that it is best for people to be multi-skilled.
Bersamin added people should learn to acquire various skills which they will be able to use as their advantage when looking for alternative jobs once their main source of livelihood will be affected by natural or man-made calamities in the future so that they will be able to face the challenges of life that will confront them on their way to success.
He expressed optimism that the tens of thousands of small-scale miners who will be displaced from their small-scale mining operations in the different parts of the region will be able to find alternative sources of livelihood which are much better and safer compared to their previous source of livelihood in the pocket mining industry for them to improve their economic status in the future.
Bersamin has a vast employment experience having been employed in the United States and a former local chief executive in Abra from 2007-2016.