Itogon, Benguet – The management of Benguet Corporation (BC) was instrumental in immediately facilitating the opening of roads in the different parts of the municipality at the height of Supertyphoon Lawin that ensured the smooth transport of people and goods preventing the isolation of locality from neighboring areas.
Lawyer Froilan Roger C. Lawilao, BC administration department manager head, said the company immediately deployed its emergency response team before the onset of the supertyphoon and its members stayed within the camp to ensure prompt action in cases of emergency, saying that they were on high alert during the duration of the weather disturbance.
“We had been conducting precautionary measures by conducting regular inspections and monitoring of all company facilities and environmental structures. We had to make sure that we will be able to immediately respond when there are calls for assistance,” Lawilao stressed.
Antonio Buenavista, BC resident manager, ordered the company’s emergency response team to also monitor the status of the employees living within the vicinity of the camp and adjoining communities for them to be able to extend assistance to them during the height of the supertyphoon.
Lawilao disclosed immediately after the arrival of the weather disturbance, the BC emergency response team dispatched several units of heavy equipment to be used in clearing operations of landslides and fallen trees that blocked the stretch of Acupan-Balatoc road, Balatoc-Kias Road and Dalicno road.
According to him, the clearing operations that resulted to the immediate opening of the said roads to vehicular traffic were done in coordination with the concerned barangays and the municipal government.
On the other hand, members of the BC emergency response team were able to retrieve the body of a pocket miner trapped inside the company’s Pink tunnel Wednesday morning.
Lawilao identified the recovered miner as Rommel Polides, a pocket miner and a native of Ilocos Sur.
He revealed the company received reports that a miner was trapped inside the said tunnel Tuesday night that caused BC management to mobilize the emergency response team led by Engr. Julio Ngolab and Engr. Salvador Lipawen which immediately conducted the search and rescue operations in the pinpointed location where the miner was trapped.
He added the body of the trapped miner was only retrieved by the members of the team Wednesday morning or over 12 hours since he was reported to have been trapped.
The BC official pointed out Pink tunnel has been used by the company as an access to Antamok during its large-scale operations.
Despite the closure of the tunnel, he claimed private mining activities over the area had been prohibited.
Further, BC filed a petition with the environment department for the issuance of a permanent order for the closure of mining activities in the area that pose a serious threat to the lives of the pocket miners.