DENR Secretary Cimatu faced the small scale miners of Itogon in a dialogue held at the multipurpose gym of DENR-CAR in Pacdal, Baguio City, on October 17, 2018
October 17, 2018, Pacdal, Baguio City - More than a thousand miners from Itogon flocked to the multipurpose gym of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) in Pacdal to meet with Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.
One month after he declared a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to illegal small scale mining operations in the region, the department secretary came back to listen to the miners’ grievances.
A petition signed by at least 600 miners was read during the dialogue, it enumerated the concerns raised by the miners which primarily included the request to lift the ban on small scale mining and process their ore stockpiles.
On the matter of lifting the CDO, the Secretary said “gawin nating legal ang illegal upang maayos kayong makapagmina”. He maintained that until such time that a Minahang Bayan is declared, all small scale mining operations remain on hold.
He added that the government has two duties to its people: to ensure the people’s safety and their livelihood. The people’s safety will always be the priority.
He then announced that one application for Minahang Bayan is in the process of being declared soon, since there have been no opposition received against said application.
He also directed MGB-CAR Regional Director, Fay W. Apil to immediately convene the Benguet Provincial Mining Regulatory Board to resolve other issues raised by the miners.
The secretary declared a ban on small scale mining activities in the Cordilleras after the tragic landslide happened in Ucab, Itogon on September 15, 2018 caused by the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ompong; small scale miners belonging to the Lower Gomok Small Scale Miners Association and some of their family members died in this disaster.