Benguet is open to giving up more land

Benguet Corp is open to donating more land to the government to help families destroyed by Typhoon Ompong.

Benguet, the oldest mining company in the country, recently abandoned part of its claim in the Antamok mines in Itogon, Benguet to the government for possible use as a "Minahang Bayan" where small-scale miners can operate.

Benguet can give more land if the government will ask.

It is a gesture of goodwill to the community, Anna Montes, Benguet AVP for business communication, said in a telephone interview.

Without going into details, Montes said the company was planning to donate pieces of real estate to be used as locations for relocations for families whose homes had been flattened by the Typhoon "Ompong", which recently ran through Luzon.

Benguet is also awaiting the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to approve its rehabilitation plan in the region, to ensure that projects of the private sector and the government are "aligned".

Benguet has been accused of allegedly endangering communities in the area by allowing small-scale miners to operate in its property in Antamok, where dozens of bodies were recovered after heavy rainfall caused deadly landslides by Typhoon Ompong.

However, the company has denied these allegations, adding that it has done everything possible to evict the mining site of illegal miners by issuing warnings, filing criminal cases and even detonating and blocking portals.

Environmental Secretary Roy Cimatu has already launched an investigation to determine who should be held responsible for the tragedy and has ordered the cessation of all small-scale mining activities in the area.

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