BONTOC, Mountain Province – Members of the local inter-agency task force against illegal mining facilitated the closure of another alleged illegal pocket mining tunnel being operated within the vicinity of barangays Guna-ang and Dalican here recently.
Senior Superintendent Allen S. Ocden, provincial director of the Mountain Province Police Office, said the voluntary closure of the mine tunnel was an offshoot of the letter complaint of Guina-ang punong barangay Domingo Mang-usan, in behalf of his constit6uents, and was supervised by the members of the local inter-agency task force against illegal mining.
“We are grateful to our people and concerned barangay officials for bringing to our attention the conduct of illegal pocket mining activities in their places. We are happy that our people now realize the serious negative impact of unregulated mining to the state of the environment in their places and their health as well,” Ocden stressed.
The police official revealed that the mining tunnels that were closed in the province were located in Maligcong, Mainit, Alab, Fedilisan and lately in the vicinity of barangays Dalican and Guina-ang.
Ocden explained that of the five mining tunnels that were closed, only was, particularly the illegal mine tunnel in Mainit, was forcibly closed while the four other illegal pocket mining tunnels were voluntarily closed by their operators upon consultations with them by the members of the task force.
According to him, the task force always makes sure that they are armed with the appropriate closure order from the Mines and Geosciences bureau when closing the operation of illegal small-scale mining tunnels and they do their activities with utmost transparency in the presence of barangay officials and the owners themselves.
Ocden underscored that he is not against mining but he is in favor of the regulations that will be imposed on them by concerned government because their adherence to environmental laws and regulations will translate to the improved state of the environment and better health of the people.
He disclosed that the members of the task force will continue to strictly monitor the already closed small-scale mining tunnels around the province and will sustain their operations against those pocket miners who continue to defy the marching orders of President Rodrigo R. Duterte against illegal mining activities for the imposition of the appropriate penalties against them.
Ocden reiterated his previous warning against illegal small-scale miners who continue to defy the government’s existing policy against illegal mining because stiffer penalties will be imposed against them once they will be caught red-handed in the conduct of their illegal trade.
Earlier, concerned stakeholders inside and outside the province openly commended the efforts of Ocden in willfully closing the operation of illegal small-scale mining tunnels in the different parts of the province because it took a responsible and dedicated police officer to do his job unlike other local and police officials who openly tolerated the illegal mining activities for obvious reasons.
Banner photo: The file photo shows Mountain Province Police Office Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Allen S. Ocden (Right) gives instruction to one of his personnel on how to seal the illegal mine tunnel which was discovered by combined police and environment officials during an ocular inspection at sitio Latang, Maligcong, Bontoc last May. MPPO Photo, 05/27/18