MANKAYAN, Benguet – Mayor Frenzel ordered the establishment of a pocket miners desk in his office to cater to the issues and concerns confronting the small-scale mining industry and to help in uplifting the status of pocket miners in the municipality.
The newly-sworn in local chief executive said the small-scale mining industry is one of the most underrated industries in the locality thus the need to put in place to attend to the issues and concerns confronting the industry, especially that the 9 pocket mining associations in the municipality decided to federate to have a bolder voice in favour of the advancement of the industry.
“We should not look at our pocket miners as potential sources of votes during the election period but we should look at them as our able partners in the provision of employment and sources of livelihood that will translate to better economic activities in the municipality,” Mayor Ayong stressed.
He pointed out that the institutionalization of a pocket miners desk in the local government will ensure the issues and concerns of the industry will be immediately brought to the attention of concerned authorities for their appropriate action which can be addressed to the pocket miners as a collective instead of being individual.
According to him, it has been unfortunate that the small-scale miners have been used by politicians during elections thus they decided to federate so that they will have a stronger voice and position on issues and concerns they can bring to attention of the authorities.
Ayong expressed his gratitude to the different small-scale mining associations in the municipality in deciding to federate and be united for them to effectively and efficiently voice out their position on issues and concerns confronting the industry, especially the ongoing processing of the declaration of Minahang Bayan sites to legitimize their age-old source of livelihood.
He pointed out that the enormous contributions of the pocket mining industry to the economic activities in the municipality through the years must be given recognition so he is providing a desk for the sector that will focus on the issues and concerns affecting the sustainable advancement of the industry as a major source of livelihood for the people in the different barangays.
He appealed to the newly organized federation of pocket miners in the municipality to continue supporting the programs, projects and activities of both the local and national governments so that the industry will be able to regain its vibrance once the appropriate interventions shall have been put in place.
Mankayan is one of the 5 first-class municipalities in Benguet and that its major source of income is its share from the national wealth taxes being remitted by the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company as well as the real property and business taxes being paid by the mining firm to the local government.
Ayong is one of the 6 new local chief executives in the province who were elected by their constituents to lead their respective municipalities up to June 30, 2022.