>> Monday, July 27, 2009
TUBA, Benguet – Local folk are now contemplating a native rite to “cleanse” a mountain here where two pocket miners were dug out dead from a huge landslide that buried their temporary shelter while mining along Barangay Padcal here.
Police identified the victims as Cesar Panganiban, 26, from Aurora province and Alvin Sabbang, 20, from Quirino province.
They were dug out by rescuers more than three hours after the landslide that buried their shelter around 5 a.m. on July 21.
Orly Aglibot, 17, from Suyo town, Ilocos Sur, their companion, was brought to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for treatment from wounds caused by the tragedy. He lived to tell the tale.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources said mining operations by the victims were not sanctioned by government because they were operating illegally.
The MGB earlier asked the provincial government to register all pocket and small scale miners in Benguet after 16 pocket miners in nearby Itogon town were trapped in an abandoned mine tunnel of the Benguet Corp.
Nine miners were retrieved dead while seven survived in their more than a week ordeal.
A month after the tragedy, three more pocket miners were retrieved dead inside another abandoned tunnel in Itogon after their oxygen supply ran out.
Sabbang, one of the victims, headed the Emerald Mountain Explorers Association, a small scale mining association reportedly not registered with the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board.
MGB officials earlier reported sudden boom in pocket mining activities in Benguet and government must regulate such to prevent accidents.