To save lives and property…

ITOGON, Benguet

Villagers and small-scale miners in Sitio Luneta, Barangay Loacan-Antamok here reiterated their appeal to the government as wells as to Benguet Corp. (BC) for the construction of a bridge and
retaining walls. Decade’s residents of this mining community experienced “isolation” especially during typhoon when the abandoned open pit mine overflows and have difficulty transporting
emergency cases and foods for daily sustenance. Another major problem is when the open pit overflows brought by cascading water from Antamok River, and down stream becomes impassable,
school children aren’t able to attend classes and workers can not report to their respective jobs.

In a random interviews over the weekend during a massive clean-up drive, villagers in this mining
community appealed anew to the government for the construction of a bridge at the nearby open pit area, and for the repair and construction of concrete retaining walls along the banks of Antamok River. In a telephone interview on Wednesday (May 17), lawyer Froilan Roger Lawilao , BC Administration Department Manager, repeated that there is an existing funds for the construction of a one-lane bridge. Lawilao urged local government unit officials including the barangay leaders
to follow it up with their office for the proper implementation.

Earlier, in fact, Lawilao told Amianan Balita Ngayon that “it is due for implementation, and their company acknowledged the need.” The BC official added that the project was approved by the
Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC) after a series of works by the so-called BC-Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT), composed of representatives from the private mining firm, community, local government unit (LGU) and non-government organization (NGO), among others.
Lawilao further said, the area is a patented mining claim of BC, mining operation was suspended /abandoned due low grade of metals that were being mined, and prices of metals were low.

Earlier, John Latongan, president of Luneta Miners Association (LMA), welcomed BC’s action and expressed gratitude in behalf of the villagers as well as pocket miners and their respective families living in the mining area. “We are thankful to BC for addressing our concern. This has been our clamor for years,” Latongan said in the vernacular.“ BC has been extending assistance to include social and environmental projects, providing us seedlings in our regular tree planting effortsunder its reforestation program, “ Latongan added. “Dakkel iti panagyamam mi ti Benguet Corp., “Latongan said, adding ever since their elders were employed in the company during its early years
of operation.

Primo Agatep/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon