Village chief opposed to illegal mining shot in Zambo City

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/22 January) — A barangay chairman who is said to be vocal against the illegal small-scale mining activities in his village was reported to be in critical condition after he was shot early Friday.

City police director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo said the incident took place shortly after 6 a.m. Friday in Sitio Mantayabas, Barangay Baluno.

De Ocampo identified the victim as Felix Custodio, barangay chairman of Baluno. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the head.

Investigation showed Custodio was walking home from the barangay hall where he slept the night before when shot with a caliber .38 revolver, the police official said.

De Ocampo said two persons could have attacked Custodio since the responding policemen recovered a shotgun and a slipper a few meters away from the crime scene.

He said the motive of the incident could be the victim’s opposition to the illegal small-scale mining activities in his barangay.

Baluno is said to be rich in minerals such as ore, zinc, lead and copper and was a mining site of the defunct Zambales Base Metal Incorporated (ZBMI) in the 1970s.

The ZBMI opted not to renew its 25-year mining lease contract paving the way for the entry of illegal small-scale mining.

Mayor Celso Lobregat recently formed a task force to probe the theft of minerals in Baluno following reports of unabated illegal mining in the area. (MindaNews)