NCIP team discovers illegal mining in Magpet

Team leader Manuel Yamuta in his report said the mining activity that started January is being undertaken by two groups.

He said Jaime Alfuerto Jr.,  a former village official of Alimodian in Matalam, North Cotabato and Allan Ularte of General Santos City are behind the gold mining activities in the area.

“The duo served as managers and financiers of two separate operations although they are both operating in the same place,” Yamuta said.

Yamuta’s team also found four newly-constructed tunnels estimated at six feet high and four feet wide, constructed along the hilly portion of the Manado riverbank.

The four mining tunnels, 20 feet deep,  were constructed with the use of wood braces made from squared timber which was also cut along the banks of Manado River.

This prompted the group to conduct a tree stump inventory. They found 16  Lawaan trees were illegally cut with an aggregate volume of 111.86 cubic meters.

Mineral ore were also found, some stockpiled in newly constructed bunkhouses that serve as shelter for hired miners and laborers.

The investigating team also found one brand new engine in the mining sites which will reportedly be used for the processing of ore.

Julius Ularte Espinosa, designated mining area supervisor, stressed that  Trinidad “Neneng” Sibug, former head of the Office of  Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC),  gave them the authority to conduct mining exploration in the area.

The mining sites were within the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) area No. 056 awarded to Datu Santos Suhat.

Espinosa said the mining exploration was financed by an interim set of incorporators, namely, Allan Ularte and Raul Misa as consultants, with Julius Espinosa, Pedro Ularte, of General Santos City, Libantas Ansabu, a native of the place and Sibug.

Sibug declined to comment.

She told DXND Radio for Peace that she will face whatever sanctions there may be, in the proper forum.

Magpet mayor Efren Piñol was surprised upon learning about the illegal mining activities and the cutting of trees in his town.

“It is really a slap on me. As a leader of this town I should act on it immediately,” he said.

 Piñol blamed village officials in Barangay Amabel for not reporting the matter to his office.

“It is impossible that the village officials where the illegal mining exploration and cutting of trees took place didn’t know these? They must responsible for these,” he said.

The mayor is consulting his lawyers on the possible filing of charges against those involved in the illegal mining activities, and the village officials as well