Malacañang on Monday said that small-scale mining operations in Mindanao were to blame for the death toll from Tropical Depression Agaton.
The number of fatalities from the first calamity to hit the country this year increased to 40 as of Sunday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.
In a press briefing, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the landslides in some areas of the region were worsened by illegal miners.
“This is an issue with small-scale mining and we’re trying to fix that situation,” Lacierda said, noting that the government has taken serious action against those against individuals and companies involved in illegal mining.
“It’s very, very frustrating that deaths are continuously caused by these small-scale miners. So that’s one thing we’d like to make sure [we address],” he added.
Meanwhile, Lacierda reassured that the government is keeping its policy of zero casualties in times of calamities.
“I can tell you that the NDRRMC personnel are committed and we have disaster response mechanisms,” he said.
“It’s just that this situation has affected mostly small miners. May mga actions na ginagawa na [tayo]dito ngayon. It’s all in the memorandum ng NDRRMC,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE