La Trinidad, Benguet: All operations in small scale mining areas in Benguet province’s so-called “gold rush areas” like Itogon and Mankayan has been ordered closed as part of storm preparations by Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council chairperson Alex Uy.
Uy has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government to empower barangay risk and disaster councils to check on their respective areas and stop small scale mining operations.
The warning was issued as a wide area of Northern Luzon was affected by typhoon Lando, bringing rains that could cause landslides and flooding inside mine tunnels.
Mankayan, Benguet Mayor Materno Luspian said small scale mining operations in his town has stopped since Saturday morning.
“I ordered the PNP and barangay officials to send small-scale miners home,” he said.
Mankayan town during the last typhoon was the hardest hit after some 18 small scale miners were buried alive in Sitio Elizabeth, barangay Taneg when a huge chunk of the mountain slid down on a mining site. Their bodies were retrieved over a period of one month.
Numerous deaths have been recorded in Itogon town in Benguet during the onslaught of typhoons in the past.