The notorious Palanas, a gold panning district in Paracale on the other side of the sea-river where United Paragon Mining Corp used to operate. Its closure in 1999 has triggered the proliferation of small-scale mining activities, most of them illegal. Foreground shows a typical floating gold-operation. – MWBuzzpic by A P HERNANDEZ
NAGA CITY: With the belief that illegal mining activities have spread unabated because of lack of livelihood opportunities in Camarines Norte town, the municipal council of Paracale approved a resolution that asked a mining firm to re-open its operation in their town after it stopped its operation in 1999.
Paracale Councilor Errol A Valeros, author of the resolution, said through the phone that the closure of United Paragon Mining Corp (UPMC) has triggered the proliferation of small-scale mining because these were the same families depending on its operation and had grown since then, after its closure in 1999.
But then the late Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse M. Robredo, upon the request of the Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), ordered on Feb 1, 2012 the Philippine National Police to stop all illegal mining activities in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte “because of the incidents relative to small scale mining that happened in these provinces.”
Valeros revealed that small-scale mining activities are scattered all over Paracale, and “almost all barangays have their own way.”
He said the order has deprived small-scale miners of their livelihood and that there is no alternative employment for them but in mining.
Valeros said the local officials of Paracale must intervene immediately because many families are now suffering from having no source of livelihood and a bigger social problem may erupt.
He said former company workers displaced were forced to engage in small-scale mining if only to survive because of the absence of alternative livelihood.
The resolution declared that reopening UPMC “will generate employment” and that “the small scale miners will be benefited aside from the development that it will bring to the community and the taxes that it will pay to the government.”
Valeros said the UPMC, DILG, and MGB were furnished copies of the resolution they passed on July 6, 2012 for information and appropriate action. – Bicol Mail