Miners turned Itogon bunkhouse into an evacuation center prior to ‘Ompong’ – local exec
Marje Pelayo • September 17, 2018 • 4336
Retrieval operation for the bodies of landslide victims in Itogon, Benguet
BENGUET, Philippines – Municipal Councillor Arnel Bahingawan clarified reports about mining operation in Barangay Ucab in the municipality of Itogon where a bunkhouse was swallowed by a massive landslide during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.
In an interview with UNTV News on Monday, September 17, Bahingawan said the bunkhouse was actually abandoned and families of miners around the area turned it into an evacuation center in the course of the typhoon.
The local official clarified that the operation of Benguet Corporation in the area had long ended since 1990’s. He explained that the fate of the miners remained uncertain because their application for small-scale mining operation is still pending.
“Nag-end na ang operation 1990s pa. During the time of Secretary Gina (Lopez), may directive na to go on with the final mine rehabilitation and commissioning. Kaso naalis si Ma’am Gina (so) naka stand by ang status nila,” Bahingawan said.
“Ang mga kababayan naman natin na gustong mag mina outside ng property ng kumpanya, tinatry naman nila na mag-form ng association for them to comply with the provisions of the small-scale mining law. Nakabinbin pa ang mga application nila,” he added.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Cordillera previously warned against mining in Itogon, Benguet because the municipality’s soil has become saturated due to a long period of monsoon rains especially in August prior to the onset of Typhoon Ompong. The agency has issued a standing stoppage order to all small-scale mining in the municipality.
As of 12:00 noon Monday, Bahingawan said they have retrieved a body of a male victim under a concrete.
He clarified that they are still in the rescue phase of the operation, not retrieval, as they hope that there are still survivors under the rubble. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.
According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease.
“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said.
All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.
While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.
On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.
Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.
Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has lauded the village residents in Benguet for waiving their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) slots.
Thirty-five residents in Barangay Gambang in Bakun, Benguet opted not to receive their emergency cash subsidy under SAP to accommodate more qualified families.
“The individuals’ families were initially targeted as SAP beneficiaries, but they voluntarily waived their slots prior to validation so that other families in need in their communities will be accommodated in the program,” the DSWD said in a statement.
There are a total of 74,369 SAP beneficiaries in the Benguet Province with 2,439 family beneficiaries in the town of Bakun. AAC
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