BONTOC, Mountain Province – Police and environment officials expressed their gratitude to small-scale miners in the different parts of the province for their full cooperation to the ultimatum given to them to stop their illegal mining activities ad dismantle their units equipment installed in their mine sites.
Senior Superintendent Allen S. Ocden, provincial director of the Mountain Province Provincial Police Office, said that based on the ocular inspection that they recently conducted in Fedelisan in Sagada and Mainit and Maligcong in Bontoc, police operatives discovered that pocket miners already stopped their small-scale mining operations and they also started dismantling their units of equipment installed in their mine working areas.
“WE would like to clarify that we are not totally against pocket mining but what we are against is the conduct of illegal mining, thus, our small-scale miners should already start working with concerned government agencies and the local governments for their compliance to the licensing requirements to allow them to go back to their trade,” Ocden stressed.
The police official disclosed that after the conduct of the May 14, 2018 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, he will organize an inter-agency inspection team composed of representatives from the police, military, provincial and municipal governments, the regional offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Labor and Employment and the proclaimed winning barangay officials for them to go back to the identified small-scale mining working areas to assess the situation so that barangay officials will be obliged to closely monitor the illegal small-scale mining activities in their places and subsequently spearhead the stoppage of such illegal activities.
Ocden emphasized that the marching order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte against illegal mining is for the concerned stakeholders to legalize their pocket mining operations to allow the government to have its fair share from the exploitation, development and utilization of the State’s mineral resources aside from the fact that small-scale miners should comply with stringent rules and regulations for the preservation and protection of the environment by planting trees and the non-use of toxic substances that eventually pollute the air and bodies of water in their places.
He claimed that his earlier warning to the pocket miners that police and military personnel will be the ones to dismantle the structures and units of equipment that are still in place in the identified small-scale mining areas still stands pursuant to the marching orders from the President to curb the proliferation of illegal mining operations in the different parts of the country to help in overall efforts to improve the state of the environment.
Ocden appealed to the temporarily displaced small-scale miners to understand the fact that the police operatives are simply complying with the marching orders from higher authorities which is primarily geared towards promoting the common good and the general welfare of the populace.