LEGAZPI CITY—The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR) in Bicol said there has been no resistance to an order to shut down illegal mining operations in Paracale but a group which said they represent small-scale miners in the town said otherwise.
Engineer Rommel Pestaño, regional technical director of the MGB-DENR in Bicol, said at a meeting on Monday (Dec. 3) at the Paracale town hall, operators, financiers and other stakeholders did not manifest resistance to the closure order.
The MGB’s closure order came on the heels of a mining accident on Nov. 20 that killed at least three small-scale miners in Sitio Bulaay in Barangay Palanas, Paracale.
On Tuesday, Pestaño said at least seven illegal mining shafts will be demolished in Sitio Bulaay.
Pestaño said the MGB is closely coordinating with Supt. Jose Capinpin, provincial director, to enforce the demolition order if the mining operators change their mind and fight the order’s enforcement.
The renewed drive to shut down illegal mining operations would also be implemented in the towns of Labo and Jose Panganiban, where illegal mining operations also exist, added Pestaño.
He said the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had issued a no-mining order in Paracale and this would be enforced.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, however, Mike Dollera, spokesperson for the Paracale Allied Miners Association, said it was not true that the MGB had a meeting with miners’ groups in Paracale because his is the only group of miners in Barangay Palanas.
He said MGB representatives talked only with Paracale Mayor Romeo Moreno and not with small-scale miners’ groups.