NVizcaya miners demand gov't assistance
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Solano, Nueva Vizcaya (June 9) -- Small scale miners here yesterday have appealed to government officials and agencies in legitimizing their livelihood in barangay Alimit in Kasibu town.
Ireneo Bobola, president of the Alimit Small Scale Miners Association (ASSMA) said there is a need to download government intervention on their activities in barangay Alimit in Kasibu town inorder to provide livelihood among the villagers in the area who are mostly members of tribal communities.
"We are not thieves and we want to help you in legitimizing our trade and livelihood. We need your guidance since we fear the company," he said referring to the foreign mining company Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) which covers portions of neighboring barangay of Didipio in Kasibu town for the extraction of gold and copper deposits under a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the national government.
Bobola made the appeal during the seminar workshop on small scale mining in the province at the Balai ni Gloria in barangay Osmena which seeks to formulate rules and policies on small scale mining.
Last year, governor Luisa Cuaresma has ordered the suspension of small scale mining activities in barangay Alimit in Kasibu town and barangay Runruno in Quezon town due to the absence of legal permits among the operators.
Bobola also said that ASSMA members are ready to abide with the government's rules and regulations on small scale mining.
At present, there were already 37 ball mill operators in barangay Alimit while there were already hundreds of small scale miners, according to environment and natural resources officer Francisco Tolentino.
He said that the number of small scale miners continue to rise due to the influx of new migrants who were attracted on the gold rush trade in the area.
Local officials in Kasibu town also raised concern over the rising peace and order situation in Kasibu town due to series of robbery and hold-up incidents and the collapse of mine tunnels resulting to the death of small scale miners in the area.
Tolentino said mine tunnels in barangay Alimit can easily collapse due to non-observance of safety and health hazards.
Kasibu town vice mayor Romeo Tayaban also asked for the deployment of additional personnel to cover the 37 barangays of the town.
"We need more to cover other barangays because we only have 17 policemen at present and this is not enough to cover other barangays," he said.
The seminar workshop on small scale mining was sponsored by the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and GeoSciences Bureau(DENR-MGB).
Full blast small scale mining in the province was started in 2006 through gold panning in creeks and rivers. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]