MANILA, Philippines – To avoid the repeat of the tragedy in Itogon, Benguet, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered a review of all people’s small-scale mining or minahang bayan sites in the country.
The environment chief ordered the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to “revisit and validate” all applications whether they “conform to standards that are safe especially for the miners.”
Dozens have remained missing and feared dead in Itogon due to the landslides during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).
Cimatu issued the statement after MGB-Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) confirmed that 10 small-scale mining associations were granted mining contracts in Itogon, pending the declaration of a minahang bayan.
The environment chief recently ordered to stop all mining activities in CAR.
Cimatu has requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help the MGB to halt all mining activities in CAR.
The minahan ng bayan was made possible by Executive Order No. 79 by President Benigno Aquino III, where small-scale miners are limited to areas declared as minahang bayan.
EO 79 aimed to implement mining reforms in the country to ensure environmental protection and promote responsible utilization of mineral resources, pursuant to Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991. – Rappler.com
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