By SONNY SALES
DAET: The Police Provincial Office (PPO) has that shanties that serve as dwellings of illegal open pit gold miners in sitio Bulaay in the mining town of Paracale were finally demolished by personnel of the Camarines Mining Incorporated (CMI) on orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
The demolition order was issued by MGB, OIC regional director Roberto D Sheen and DENR – Environment Management Bureau (EMB) regional director Teodore Rommel E Pestaño.
The order was based on a previous directive of MGB chief Leo L Jazareno early this year to implement a “cease and desist order” on mining operations in sitio Maligaya and Bulaay in barangay Palanas where two miners died in Jan 30 this year.
The area was also declared as a geographically hazardous area for mining.
The death of three or more miners in Nov 22 this year proved the failure of implementation of the mining ban in the locality, which was reported to have yielded high-grade gold since 2010.
With the recent deaths in the mine pits came further revelations that most small-scale-mining operations in the areas did not have permits from the provincial government and unabated use of explosives in the mine pits have caused unreported deaths of as many as 30 mine workers, a Congressman of the province said.
Since the demolition of shanties started last week, CamNorte provincial director Sr Supt. Jose Lipa Capinpin also ordered the PPO public safety company to secure mining sites in Bulaay because of fierce resistance from some miners.
The Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative (Canoreco) was also ordered to cut power supplies to the shacks to help ensure the termination of all mining operations.
Mine financiers asked the MGB to give them three days to retrieve mining tools and equipment in the flooded pits, but the MGB denied the request although miners were reportedly allowed to take the tools left in their shanties.
Palanas barangay captain Reno Pisalbon reported that there were nearly 200 mine pits dug in recent years mostly in Palanas area, giving employment to about 3,000 Palanas residents.
A local mining financier here said, miners who loses their jobs will just scout for other gold mining areas to dig after the closure order takes effect in the said village.
Paracale Mayor Romeo Moreno stressed there is no clear policy by the DENR or other concerned government agencies on providing alternative source of income for the traditional miners of Paracale. – Vox Bicol