BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan rallied concerned government agencies to impose stringent regulations relative to the operation of small-scale mining activities in the different parts of the country to prevent the potential threats that the environmentally critical activity will pose to the environment and the health of the people.
The local chief executive commended concerned citizens for providing the local government and law enforcement agencies with the needed information that resulted to the arrest of 13 individuals who were allegedly caught in the act doing illegal small-scale mining activities in Uabac, Camp 7 recently.
“We certainly need the implementation of the appropriate regulations governing small-scale mining operations to make sure that threats to the environment posed by the pocket mining activity will be significantly reduced and that the involved individuals will pay the taxes due to the government,” Domogan stressed.
While it is true that there were small-scale mine tunnels that were sealed in the Uabac area, he claimed that the involved pocket miners were able to find another entry to their working areas that is why they were able to continue their illegal activities in the place.
According to him, concerned agencies must regularly conduct ocular inspections in small-scale mining to check their activities because pocket miners are now using units of heavy equipment to be able to extract the ore from their mine sites, thus, such use of heavy equipment is not actually part of being small-scale.
Further, he claimed that small-scale miners are using dangerous and toxic chemicals and illegally despise of their mine waste in the river systems that contribute to the pollution of the bodies of water near pocket mining operations, thus, the need for such activities to be regulated to abate the serious threats to the environment and the health of the people.
Domogan argued that the unregulated small-scale mining operations not only in the city but also in other neighboring areas in Benguet poses a serious threat to the state of the environment and the health of the people because of the use by the pocket miners of hazardous and toxic chemicals that are openly dump in the bodies of water that is why large-scale mining operations is somewhat safer considering the need for mining companies to strictly comply with the conditions of their permits because violations of their licenses will lead to their closure and stoppage of their mining operations.
He explained that there are declared mineral reservations in the city pursuant to presidential issuances in the past that is why the best remedy to get rid of the said declarations is for the repeal of the proclamations which will be done by the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Under the city’s Environment code, mining is allowed in the city but within the declared mineral reservations which are situated in the eastern part of the city where there are patches of small-scale mining operations that are allegedly operating illegally considering that the small-scale mining groups do not possess the appropriate permits from the concerned government regulatory agencies.
By Dexter A. See