By JONAS CABILES SOLTES
NAGA CITY: Six small-scale gold miners were arrested in Barangay Palanas in Paracale, CamNorte recently, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the northernmost province of Bicol said.
Chief Inspector Arnulfo Selencio, chief of Paracale PNP, identified the suspects as Ariel Balon, 36; Jason Malagueño, 23; Roel Vasquez, 29; Garry Ocampo, 33; Angel Regalario, 24; and Julius Buenvenida, 26.
Selencio said the suspects were caught in the act of mining with the use of explosives. Confiscated from them were 10 pieces of emulsion explosives and a detonating cord.
Small-scale miners in gold-rich Paracale town have engaged themselves in compressor mining, an illegal and dangerous method in which miners search for gold ores in underwater pits aided by an air compressor hooked to their noses.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau since November last year has stopped small-scale mining operations in Paracale after an accident claimed the lives of at least three miners, but guerilla operations have persisted.
Mining has been a hot election issue in Camarines Norte, with reelectionist Gov. Edgardo Tallado supporting the establishment of common mining areas.
Tallado has been accused of condoning illegal mining operations by his political opponents in the province.
But the governor said it was impossible to totally prohibit mining as it had been the source of livelihood for many people especially in Paracale and in the neighboring towns of Labo and Jose Panganiban. – Bicol Mail