MANILA - Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday said he has issued a cease and desist order on small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera Administrative Region in the wake of typhoon Ompong’s onslaught.
Cimatu issued this order as the death toll in the region rose to 54 as of Monday, with 42 still missing in the landslide-hit town of Itogon, Benguet.
Most of the casualties and missing were miners who lived in bunkhouses that were buried in a landslide.
“The first phase, we will stop these [small-scale mining]. The second stage will be to relocate them out of those very dangerous areas. We have issued geohazard maps all over the country and these show the landslide-prone areas,” Cimatu said in a press briefing in Benguet.
Cimatu added he is revoking temporary permits granted to small-scale mining companies effective Monday.
He said he will also deploy policemen and soldiers to implement the cease and desist order.
The world's biggest storm this year left large expanses in northern Luzon underwater as fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rain unleashed dozens of landslides.
Farms across northern Luzon, which produces much of the nation's rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwater, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.