By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Political will is needed to contain the reported illegal small scale mining in southern Negros which has reached alarming level while employing minors.
Eriberto Madalag, officer-in-charge of the Regulatory Services of the Provincial Environment and Management Office of the provincial government, said the matter has already reached the Office of the President but no action was taken yet.
A cease and desist order has already been issued by the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau but the illegal activity continues, Madalag said.
“Political will is needed,” he stressed.
Madalag said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental has already issued several resolutions calling for a stop to the illegal activity but still the people in the area continue to dig for minerals without caution.
He expressed concern that if the diggings continue unabated the area located in the boundary of Hinobaan town and Sipalay City may become another Compostela Valley.
The threat of landslide and the caving in of the grounds is constantly there, Madalag pointed out, adding that environmental threat has also to be taken seriously as discharges of the chemicals used by the diggers go to the water bodies in the area.
Earlier, Madalag said the small scale mining is being perpetuated by about 100 families covering the area of about 50-100 hectares in Barangay Nabulaw reportedly within the mining claim of Philiex Gold Mining Inc., using chemicals such as cyanide and mercury.
He clarified though that the said illegal activity is not sanctioned by the said mining firm because it is still on the exploration stage.
He revealed that these people may have financiers based on their equipment which he described as completely capable of processing gold.