NBI to start probe of Caramoan mining | Inquirer News

NBI to start probe of Caramoan mining

THIS serene scene in Lahuy Island is deceptive and does not show the tension that grips a village there because of conflicting operations to mine its gold deposits. JUAN ESCANDOR JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

Members of the Camarines Sur provincial government’s environment watchdog, tasked with going after illegal mining, have been accused of involvement in illegal mining themselves, which led to the killings of four people, according to a complaint filed in the National Bureau of Investigation.

Two officials of Barangay Gata in Lahuy Island in Caramoan town—Mercy Sueno, Gata barangay captain, and Maximino Breis Jr.—appeared before NBI Director Virgilio Mendez on Tuesday at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue to personally file their complaint.


Mendez said he would order an investigation.


The NBI director also said he received a letter from Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Luis Villafuerte asking him to assign Manila-based agents to investigate the killings of four alleged small-scale miners in the village on March 22, allegedly by members of Sagip Kalikasan Task Force (SKTF) of the provincial government.

“The investigation on the incident is ongoing and, with the two sides cooperating, we hope to have the result of the investigation soon,” Mendez told the Inquirer in an interview.

Sueno said in her complaint that the SKTF took over the small-scale mining operations in the village that covered

60 hectares of land believed to be rich in gold deposits.

“They told us to stop because it was illegal, but only for them to take over the operation,” Sueno said in the meeting with Mendez.

She said it was the first time the small-scale mining operation in the area was prohibited by the local government.


“We stopped and worked on papers that will make our livelihood legal, but we were disappointed to see the SKTF take over what we have started,” Sueno said.

She said village officials reported the illegal operations of the SKTF to authorities, but they were “ignored.”

She also said the four small-scale miners who were killed were unarmed and were eating when they were shot.

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“One of them had his mouth full of rice when he was shot,” Sueno said.

TAGS: Caramoan, Gold, Gold Mine, NBI

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