DAVAO de Oro governor Dorothy Gonzaga called a national agency to probe the mining industry in the province following the tragic landslide incident in Masara, Maco, on Feb. 6.
According to the local government of Maco, as of 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, the death toll is at seven, and 31 rescued individuals were injured, while rescuers have yet to find the missing 48. It can be noted that 11 lives were claimed from the Monkayo landslide last month, Jan. 18.
Gonzaga requested the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to review the permits and compliance of mining firms as they contribute to landslides, especially during heavy and continuous rains.
She revealed that illegal mining operations are still widespread in the province since the provincial government does not have control over them.
“Illegal in the sense nga gusto nila ma legal pero wala pa nang-lihok, so apil man gud diha ang pagtan-aw kung ensakto ba ilang area,” Gonzaga told the media after the situation briefing on the effects of shear line and trough of low pressure area in DPWH Panacan on Feb.7.
The governor mentioned one firm that is in the production stage. However, she could not determine the total number of companies in the exploration stage.
“Dili kaayo ko swito kay mokalit ra baya og bot-ho ang mga permit ug lisensya [sa mining firms], di baya moagi sa amoa, sa national ang permit and licenses (I am not an expert because the licensing permits simply surfaces because they don’t pass through our office. All permits and licenses are at the national level),” she added.
The governor said the Masara landslide incident did not only affect the employees of APEX Mining Co. but also the whole community.
The company, however, claimed in its official statement that the landslide occurred outside the actual mining site. Around 800 families from three barangays that are in the landslide area are now placed in evacuation centers.
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