Illegal miners in gold-rich Kiamba town in Sarangani are using explosives to extract gold.
This was discovered by no less than Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao who went to the mining area over the weekend with Mayor Danny Martinez of Kiamba, policemen, soldiers and personnel from the provincial environment and natural resources office.
“We were able to recover electrical cords and blasting caps. Meaning, the miners are using explosives to mine the area,” Pacquiao told the Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.
Pacquiao said he had warned the miners five days before he trekked to the area to stop illegal mining in Sitio Kaffugan in the village of Green Valley.
“I warned them to stop their illegal activities but they still went on. Those apprehended will be charged accordingly to emphasize that we are serious in protecting the environment here,” Pacquiao said.
The boxer-lawmaker said police have filed charges at the provincial prosecutor’s office in Sarangani against the six illegal miners caught during the raid in Sitio Kaffugan.
“I hope this will serve as a lesson to others,” Pacquiao said.
The arrested illegal mining suspects were identified as Jason Pancho, 19; Alex Lintuan, 20; Domingo Lumbay, 52; Alexander Rufo, 22; Junnel Agang-ang, 19; and Smart Matambong, 18.
The raiding team, led by Pacquiao, walked for more than two hours just to reach the area.
Pacquiao requested the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion to establish a detachment in the area to prevent the reentry of illegal miners there.
Many times in the past, Gov. Miguel Dominguez ordered a stop to illegal mining in the area.
Illegal mining, however, continued and the number of tunnels have even increased.
The area is a watershed and ancestral land of T’boli lumad. Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao