The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau is set to declare the first Minahang Bayan to be located in Itogon, Benguet.
Regional Director Exequiel Guzman admits that they have only 15 to 16 labor inspectors all over the region that are supposed to be ensuring that labor laws like the occupational health and safety standards are being followed by companies and employers.
A farmer from the Bahong village in La Trinidad town, the rose capital of Benguet province, said there will be enough roses for Valentines despite the dipping temperature this February.
Small-scale mining activities may soon resume in the gold-rich town of Itogon in this province after the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) signed the declaration of a Minahang Bayan (People’s Small-scale Mining Area) in a Tuesday evening (Jan. 15) meeting at the Capitol here.
Despite the aggressive campaign of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA), local government units (LGU) and companies, tobacco farmers and production are losing numbers. Roadside farms, used to be the domain of tobacco are now occupied by corn and peanuts. While in some villages, tomatoes are now cultivated on the lands where the region’s “green gold” once flourished. The plant that transformed the Ilocos provinces and some of its towns, that were suffering from scarcity of funds, into first income class LGUs, is now struggling to survive.
Childhood experience with tobacco growing is not the only thing the two share. Cesar and Julius also have similar complains about the price, the growership scheme, and the government’s treatment of farmers.
MGB-CAR director Faye Apil bared the agency have finished hearing applications from small scale mining groups from Itogon, Tuba and Mankayan, and eyeing the declaration of minahang bayan in Benguet by December.
Small-scale miners and militant groups on Thursday, November 22, called on the government to lift the ban on pocket mining in the Cordillera.
After Typhoon Ompong, news on the tragic landslide, the relief and assistance from government and private institutions and the DENR’s closure order field the the airwaves. Two months after the disaster, the people of Itogon continue to face the hardships brought not only by Ompong but by the national government’s lack of comprehensive action to resolve the people’s safety and economic wellbeing. These are some of their day-to-day struggles to survive that remain unknown to the public.
On September 17, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu issued a ban on pocket mining in the Cordillera. The directive is Cimatu’s response after a massive landslide hit the mining town of Itogon at the height of Typhoon Ompong. More than a month after, thousands of families continue to look for alternative livelihood, with some already burried in debts. Small scale miners explain why the uplanned DENR order to close their operations is not fair and worst than the disaster brought by Typhoon Ompong.
The town of Itogon received P20 million from the National Housing Authority for the resettlement of 720 families whose houses are within the ‘no build zones’.
Speaking in mixed Ilokano and English, Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan pointed out the PMRB’s advisory on the issuance of temporary permit released on October 18 negates the purpose of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to allow the processing of ore.