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Friday, August 28, 2015

MGB 9 leads crack down on illegal small-scale mining in ZamboSur

By Jocelyn P. Alvarez

ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-9 together with representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, concerned barangay tanods, members of Philippine National Police (PNP) of Pagadian City, military army from the 53rd Infantry Division Tactical Operation recently cracked down illegal miners operating in the two adjacent barangays Deborok and Lourdes, Pagadian City.

The crack down was by virtue of the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) served on June 25, 2015.

Emma Deverala, MGB-9 information officer, in an interview said after quite sometime of operation of illegal small-scale mining in the said areas, the activity has finally come to an end.

“Medyo matagal na rin yan sila nag o-operate pero dati puro heresy lang, no formal complaint. Pero this time around, may letter of complaint na talaga galing sa IP group (They have been operating for quite sometime, but it was all heresy since there was formal complaint. This time a letter-complaint was filed by an IP group), that’s why MGB was able to act immediately on it, that’s why MGB was able to act immediately on it,” Deverala said.

When the Team arrived in the illegal mining areas where the active tunnels were located, mine workers were nowhere to be found while there were implications that they had only left the place a bit earlier when the Team had arrived,” Deverala recounted.

Deverala said the tunnels that were developed by small-scale miners for ore extraction were nailed with lumbers on the portals, chained with padlocks to permanently close the tunnels, restrict entry and prevent further mining activities.

Deverala also disclosed that out of the 22 tunnels inventoried that were developed by the illegal small-scale miners, only 14 were active while 8 were considered abandoned since they were already covered with shrubs.

The issuance of the CDO initiated by MGB-IX was in response to the Resolutions No. 003 and 004 referred by the Pikumpongan Subanen Gataw Tebed Association, Inc. (PSGT) which requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) among other identified agencies for a prompt investigation on the alleged illegal small scale mining at Barangays Deborok and Lourdes, Pagadian City.