16 illegal pocket miners arrested by Itogon cops

ITOGON, Benguet  – Police operatives arrested sixteen pocket miners who allegedly violated the cease and desist order issued by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu that temporarily suspended all small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera and the conditions of the temporary permit issued by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) for the processing of their stockpiled ore.

 

Senior Inspector Heherson Zambale, chief of the Itogon Municipal Police Station, said that 14 individuals were successively arrested by law enforcers after having been found to have violated the existing cease and desist order while 2 persons were arrested Thursday for processing their ore using the prohibited carbon in pulp which is in violation of the conditions of the temporary permit issued to them by the PMRB.

“We continue to monitor the compliance of the pocket miners to the conditions stipulated in the temporary permit issued to them by the PMRB so that only ball milling and sluicing will be the mode of processing their stockpiled ore,” Zambale stressed.

The police official claimed that charges of violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, RA 7076 or the Peoples Small-Scale Mining Act and Presidential Decree (PD) 1586 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment System were already filed against the 14 individuals who were arrested for blatantly violating the cease and desist order while the 2 persons who were arrested processing their mine ore through CIP will be properly charged before the provincial prosecutor’s office.

Zambale expressed his gratitude to most of the pocket miners for their utmost cooperation in complying with the stipulated conditions of the temporary permits that were issued to them by the PMRB although there are still a few of them who continue to try to test the ability of law enforcers in going after them.

According to him, pocket miners should show to the government their sincerity in complying with the conditions stipulated in their temporary permits because it will serve as a basis for the responsible officials to decide on whether or not to grant a possible extension to the 30-day grace period granted to them to process their stockpiled ore.

Zambale claimed that representatives from concerned government agencies, the local government, barangay officials and law enforcers are steadfast in monitoring the daily activities of the pocket miners who started processing their stockpiled mine ore since the first day of the month so that the prohibited acts of the miners will not be done like the use of banned chemicals in the processing of their ore that will result to the outright revocation of their permit and their failure to be involved in any pocket mining activity.

He assured stakeholders that elements of the Itogon Municipal Police Station are simply performing their assigned duties and responsibilities in ensuring that pocket miners will comply with the conditions of their temporary permits aside from making sure that peace and order will continue to reign at all times in the different parts of the municipality pursuant to the marching orders of higher authorities.

By HENT

 

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