The TF-MC will implement the cease and desist order (CDO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stopping all small scale mining activities in the Cordillera.
The CDO was issued following a massive landslide in September 2018 that killed scores of people in Benguet’s mining town of Itogon.
“That is a timely reactivation because it is almost rainy season and if there is indiscriminate mining on the mountains or rivers, it will just aggravate the effect of the typhoon and the heavy rains,” said Police Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) head and RLECC chair, on the sidelines of the meeting.
With the reactivation of the task force, the areas where there are mining activities will be identified to avoid any untoward incidents.
“The reactivation of the task force will be a preventive measure against untoward incidents. It will be a multi-agency task force with each having its own role like education and enforcement that will be implemented with other law enforcement agencies to avoid such [loss of lives and property] incidents,” Dickson said.
Following the onslaught of typhoon Ompong in September last year, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu issued a CDO for all small scale mining activities in the Cordillera.
To ensure that the order will be complied with, the agency formed TF-MC to implement the CDO. It was later deactivated and the responsibility of implementing the CDO fell on the shoulders of the local government unit with the help of the police.
No mining activities should take place until the Minahang Bayan applications are approved.
On June 5, two farmers were reported to have died of gas poisoning after allegedly doing mining activities in an abandoned small scale mine processing pond where tailings, including chemicals with cyanide, go.
Dickson said they are still investigating the incident.
“Wala pa kaming (We do not have) conclusive report. We will provide you with the finding when it is completed,” he said.
The task force hopes to have village officials as members and deputized agents, who will identify adits (small scale mine holes) in their respective areas. (PNA)
By Liza Agoot