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.
Some 150 farmers marched through the streets of Cauayan City, Isabela to protest the Duterte administration’s policies that inflicted ‘Kagutuman’, ‘Kahirapan’, and ‘Karahasan’ to the people.
A farmers’ group in Ilocos is calling for a payment moratorium and condonation of interest on their loans to cope with their losses from Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).
A farmers’ group in Cagayan said the 50% loan condonation recommended by the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) branch in the province is not enough to ensure their immediate recovery.
In a barangay meeting last Thursday, the residents: farmers, small scale traders and miners, were gathered to discuss their future as a community against the national government official’s decision to suddenly close down their small scale mining operations where they were drawing their already main, and for some, only means of livelihood.
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Zarate also said that the call for a P750 national minimum wage is only meant to cover additional expenses due to overpricing, the TRAIN law and other factors.