Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) raided a mining site illegally controlled by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur, last April 13.
At least 200 mining shafts, ten water pumps and generator sets were recovered from the now abandoned small-scale mining site in Sitio Pagsimbugan, Barangay Mapid of the said town.
Responding from a tip-off about an on-going illegal gold mining operation, 96th Infantry Battalion (96IB) and 83rd Infantry Battalion (83IB) immediately conducted Law Enforcement Support Operation.
JTFB Commander MajGen Henry Robinson Jr PA, Police Brigadier General Bartolome Bustramante, the regional director of Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) and representatives from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Bicol personally inspected the mining area which is located in the middle of a jungle, one hour away from Mapid proper.
According to the MGB, aside from the absence of mining permit which is a violation of RA 7076 or the Small Scale Mining Act, the operators also violated RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 specifically the theft of minerals under Sec. 103.
The MGB collected a sample from the mining site to verify that gold is really mined from the area.
“Nakita ng Mines GeoSciences Bureau ang mga violations kaya nga sabi namin, pagtutulungan namin na maimplement ‘yong cease and desist order (CDO) na iissue ng MGB para patigilin ang operasyon dito,” PBGen. Bustamante said.
The CTG is also responsible of illegal logging activities evident in the lumbers used as support in the makeshift mining holes.
Meanwhile, MajGen. Robinson assured the public that the troops will continue to implement stringent security measures in the area to prevent the communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) from going back to the mining site and continue their illegal mining operations.
Robinson also lambasted the CTG for accusing the government of being inutile when in truth, their group is the one involved in the rampant conduct of illegal activities to support their anti-development and anti-people acts.
“Napakalaki ng resource generation dito ng CTG. Kinokontrol nila ‘yong lugar para magkaroon sila ng sariling pagkakitaan. Sila-sila lang ang nakikinabang dito at ‘yong pondong nakukuha nila rito ay nagsisilbing livelihood ng kanilang grupo para patuloy silang makapaghasik ng karahasan at terorismo.
“Moreover, rivers, which serve as water source of the residents living nearby, can get contaminated because of the filth coming from the makeshift mining shafts during their mining operations.
“Sinasamantala rin nila ang kawalan ng kalsada sa lugar na ito para magsagawa ng mga iligal na aktibidad. That is why they hate the developmental projects of the government, especially road constructions because once the community is already accessible, it will hamper their unlawful activities,” Robinson explained.
The JTF Bcolandia, on the other hand, recognized the information provided by the local populace which led to the discovery of yet another illegal activity of the CTG just as how significant they have been in the previous successful military engagements which resulted in the seizure of 53 huge anti-personnel mines, killing of one CTG member and capture of one M16 rifle.