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Mine site illegal settlers warned of charges

Victor Martin (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2021 - 12:00am

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya , Philippines — Informal settlers who refuse to abandon geohazard areas near a mining site in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya will face charges, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said yesterday.

The illegal settlers set up their houses near a gold-molybdenum project in Barangay Runruno despite a government order to leave the area, according to Edgar Martin, chief of the provincial environment and natural resources office.

Of the 411 families illegally staying in the area located in Sitio Bit-ang, 24 refused to leave.

Most of these illegal settlers came from the Cordilleras as well as in the provinces of  Isabela and Quirino.

“A majority complied with the order, but there are still those who refused to leave the landslide-prone area,” Martin said.

Representatives of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau, Philippine National Police and local government met with the illegal settlers to persuade them to leave.

Aside from holding meetings, authorities launched awareness campaign on the dangers of living in the area.

Sources said that those who complied reportedly received money from the mining company.

“Once the case is filed, it’s up to the court to decide whether they will still get the same amount from the company or none at all since the area is part of the company’s operation,” the source said.

The remaining settlers are reportedly expecting the company to renegotiate and offer a higher amount.             

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