July 24th, 2010
Leyte Samar Daily Express
GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte – Small-scale miners operating without permits remain rampant in Eastern Visayas, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
“Our technical personnel personally observed the ongoing quarrying operation involving extraction and hauling of filling materials in various areas of the region,” De Dios said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.
“Most of the small-scale miners operating without permits are centered in Samar and Eastern Samar provinces. The chromite mining areas in Salcedo and Homonhon Island are also hotspots for small scale mining activities,” De Dios added.
“Even in Leyte, where implementation of mining and environment laws are in place, there are expanding small-scale mining communities,” De Dios said.
As this developed, the MGB has issued a cease and desist order to a small-scale miner in Barangay Palarao, Leyte, Leyte.
According to De Dios, the ongoing quarrying in the said area is said to be operated by a certain Felomino Velarde of Sitio Mokal-bokal, Barangay Catmon, Naval, Biliran.
“Our technical personnel gathered that the barangay council has passed a resolution endorsing Mr. Velarde’s quarry operation. But it was also learned that the barangay chairman, Julianito Villegas, allowed Mr. Velarde to operate without looking into the necessary quarry permit but instead reportedly collected an amount of P15 per truckload,” De Dios disclosed.
Based on MGB records, the company owned by Velarde has no permit issued by the provincial government of Leyte and the List of Quarry, Sand and Gravel Permits.
“Relative to the illegal operations of Mr. Velarde, I directed immediately the barangay to cause the stoppage of the quarrying operation until such time that he can secure the necessary permit pursuant to the provisions of RA 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and based on the existing Provincial Mining Ordinance of Leyte,” the MGB director said.
“Because of this situation, we are reiterating to the local government units (LGUs) about the devolved mining functions and enforce the mining laws to miners especially the small-scale miners,” De Dios said.
“The devolved function may be new to local authorities and that could increase the problems in small-scale mining. MGB will provide technical assistance to these LGUs especially in exercising their authority to provide adequate means to ensure sufficient enforcement,” he added. (REYAN L. ARINTO)
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