4 arrested for illegal mining operations in landslide-prone Itogon

Justin Aguilar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2018 10:14 AM

Authorities found this equipment used by the group in their illegal mining operation in Itogon, Benguet. Justin Aguilar, ABS-CBN News

BAGUIO CITY - Police on Saturday arrested four men from Bontoc, Mt. Province for illegal mining at the former site of the Chico mines in Itogon, Benguet, a town hit by several deadly landslides in September amid the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong. 

Police conducted the operation after receiving reports from neighboring barangays that their river is being contaminated with waste from ore processing. 

According to the report, a group of men was illegally operating a mining site a few kilometers away from Barangay Gumatdang. The men involved were also initially reported to be armed.

After a week of surveillance, a composite team from the Itogon Municipal Police Station, Benguet Police Provincial Office (PPO), and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station 4, was formed to stop the illegal mining operation.

The arrest was also pursuant to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) order halting all mining activities within the Cordillera Administrative Region in the wake of the typhoon. 

Local police have arrested 14 people for illegal mining since October 1.

Itogon was the site of several landslides that killed dozens, including miners, in September amid heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ompong.