ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government will be holding an indigenous ritual in the municipality on Sunday, September 15, 2019 in memory of the victims of Supertyphoon Ompong that ravaged most parts of the Cordillera, including the locality, that resulted to the untimely demise of hundreds of individuals due to series of landslides, mostly in the town
Mayor Victorio Palangdan said that the local government will be holding the so-called ‘pamakan ,’ a Kankanaey ritual to appease the souls of those victims of the calamity from the different parts of the municipality and for those who are still missing to date.
On September 15, 2018, Supertyphoon Ompong battered most parts of Northern Luzon, including the Cordillera, more particularly the municipality, that caused landslides, including the huge one at Level 70, Ucab, wherein nearly 100 lives were lost while 3 other remain missing.
“We want to appease the souls of those who were victims of the calamity so that they will help in ensuring that the municipality will be spared from the future wrath of weather disturbances that will again claim innocent lives of people who are simply seeking shelter in their homes with the hope that such tragic incident will not again happen in the locality in the future,” Mayor Palangdan stressed.
The local chief executive said that the ritual will also serve as thanksgiving to all those who, in one way or the other, helped in the successful conduct of the search and rescue operations during the aftermath of the calamity that resulted to the recovery of the victims and the prevention of other landslide incidents in the municipality that could have resulted to more casualties.
He extended the invitation to all those who are interested to join the ritual to visit the Itogon training Center (ITC) in Boa on Sunday for them to be able to participate in the conduct of the same to peace of the souls of the calamity victims that have gone head due to the wrath of the worst weather disturbance that have struck the municipality in over a decade.
According to him, Itogon was one of the hardest hit municipalities by the weather disturbance because it is where the biggest landslide happened aside from the series of landslide and drowning incidents in other parts of the municipality and the occurrence of road cuts that isolated some barangays for quite sometime.
Because of the tragic landslide incident that transpired in Ucab at the height of the wrath of the typhoon, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the temporary suspension of small-scale mining activities in the different parts of the Cordillera that resulted to the displacement of tens of thousands of pocket miners from the municipality who had been relying on the said activity as their primary source of income for decades now.
Palangdan expressed optimism that the environment department will lift the temporary ban on small-scale mining operations in the region with the imposition of stringent rules and regulations that will govern such activities so that the vibrant pocket mining operation will be able to bring back the robust economic activities in the different mining communities not only in the municipality but also in the whole province and the region.
Itogon is one of the first-class municipalities in the province that derive most of its income from the operation of small and large-scale mining operations considering the huge volume of minerals that are deposited underneath is area of jurisdiction.