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Vegetable prices surge as Benguet farmers brace for ‘Ompong’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

 

BENGUET, Philippines – The provincial government has advised vegetable farmers to harvest their crops before it is too late as a strong cyclone is expected to hit the country.

Benguet Provincial Administrator Noel Ngolob also reminds them to refrain from nigh time delivery as roads can be slippery and dangerous amid the inclement weather.

“Kung pwede na silang makapag-harvest ng mga harvestable products, they will do it. Then we also have agreed that they will be advised not to travel at night kasi kung minsan dahil sa hinahabol nila iyong presyo ng gulay, they would want to bring their produce to the market immediately even during night time. Pero iyon ang mga time na delikado. As much as possible walang mag babiyahe ng gabi kapag nandito na ang bagyo,” Ngolob said.

In preparation for the potential super typhoon “Ompong,” some vegetable farmers, apart from early harvest, already placed plastic protections to save their crops.

As expected, vegetable prices surged in Benguet as farmers battle the impact of the inclement weather on their livelihood.

“Lahat na tumaas (ng) doble…Ang presyo ngayon (ay) masyado nang tumaas,” said vegetable grower Lito Diclas.

Some of the vegetables affected by price surge include:

Potato                  P35 to P42/kg

Cabbage              P50 to P105/kg

Celery                  P100 to P250/kg

Cauliflower         P100 to P250/kg

Meanwhile, prices of the following vegetables have marked down.

Green leeks        P200 to P120/kg

Wombok             P70 to P40/kg

Carrots                P150 to P100/kg

The price of radish, however, remained stable at P100 per kilogram. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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DENR opens opportunities for Benguet miners after bunkhouse tragedy

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

File photo of mining site

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said there are around 500 miners from 10 small-scale mining companies in Benguet who are considered legal and have acquired special authority from the agency.

However, over 1,000 miners are considered illegal and the DENR is offering help to encourage them to refrain from illegal mining activities.

The agency has opened some livelihood projects in Itogon, Benguet to help the affected miners.

The programs include the national greening program, the ‘cash for work’ program and a campaign that will employ “Bantay Gubat” officers.

“Kaya it’s really a pity na mawalan ito ng hanap buhay. In order for them naman na ma prevent ang loss of lives naman in the future pwede na siguro if they can find another livelihood in this area sa kanilang mga probinsya na lang,” said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Still, the DENR said they can only do little as major part of the mining site is privately owned.

“The mining company… it’s their responsibility to guard their property because its patented mining claim and parang titulo na yan na they own the mines and surface,” said Regional Director Faye Hapil of the DENR Mines and Geoscience Bureau.

Because of the geohazard situation in Barangay Ucab, the DENR ordered the demolition of the bunkhouses in the area. However, the miners chose to stay until the tragedy.

The incident prompted the agency to immediately order a stop on all small-scale mining in the area.

“We will reiterate na we have been doing our job here in DENR we issued stoppage orders, the local government were properly informed of the hazardous situation in the said area but sad to say this thing occurred” said Usec. Benny Antiporda of the DENR Solid Waste Management Bureau. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Miners turned Itogon bunkhouse into an evacuation center prior to ‘Ompong’ – local exec

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

Retrieval operation for the bodies of landslide victims in Itogon, Benguet

 

BENGUET, Philippines – Municipal Councillor Arnel Bahingawan clarified reports about mining operation in Barangay Ucab in the municipality of Itogon where a bunkhouse was swallowed by a massive landslide during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.

In an interview with UNTV News on Monday, September 17, Bahingawan said the bunkhouse was actually abandoned and families of miners around the area turned it into an evacuation center in the course of the typhoon.

The local official clarified that the operation of Benguet Corporation in the area had long ended since 1990’s. He explained that the fate of the miners remained uncertain because their application for small-scale mining operation is still pending.

“Nag-end na ang operation 1990s pa. During the time of Secretary Gina (Lopez), may directive na to go on with the final mine rehabilitation and commissioning. Kaso naalis si Ma’am Gina (so) naka stand by ang status nila,”  Bahingawan said.

“Ang mga kababayan naman natin na gustong mag mina outside ng property ng kumpanya, tinatry naman nila na mag-form ng association for them to comply with the provisions of the small-scale mining law. Nakabinbin pa ang mga application nila,” he added.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Cordillera previously warned against mining in Itogon, Benguet because the municipality’s soil has become saturated due to a long period of monsoon rains especially in August prior to the onset of Typhoon Ompong. The agency has issued a standing stoppage order to all small-scale mining in the municipality.

As of 12:00 noon Monday, Bahingawan said they have retrieved a body of a male victim under a concrete.

He clarified that they are still in the rescue phase of the operation, not retrieval, as they hope that there are still survivors under the rubble. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Wrath of ‘Ompong’ leaves 54 dead, 32 injured, 42 still missing in Cordillera

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

 

Retrieval operations in Benguet for bodies of residents who died in a landslide triggered by Typhoon Ompong

 

BENGUET, Philippines – The wrath of Typhoon Ompong has left 54 people dead in various areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) due to massive landslides.

Thirty-two (32) individuals were injured while 42 others remain missing based on the latest count from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

OCD-Cordillera Regional Director Ruben Carandang said they have warned the residents to evacuate to safer grounds even before the typhoon. He said most of the fatalities were miners as many mining sites in the province refused to heed their advice.

 Dapat lahat ng mga nakatira diyan sa mga barangay na iyan hanggang doon sa maliliit na magtatrabaho, dapat alam nila kung ano ang mangyayari. They did not follow the ordinance of the barangay. Kasi iyong nakita namin kanina noong pumunta ako doon, kaya puro putik ito, nasabihan na sila noong September 12. They have been informed or advised as of Wednesday. Nag-landfall noong September 15. You have 3 days to follow iyong pre-emptive advice (but) they chose to stay,” Carandang said.

Meanwhile, the OCD temporarily suspended the retrieval operations at a mining site in Barangay Ucab in the municipality of Itogon as risks of another landslide remained high that could endanger the lives of emergency workers. Soldiers and policemen together with local volunteers and miners are among those involved in the retrieval operations.

Carandang said the damaged structure in Barangay Ucab was a bunkhouse for miners of Benguet Corporation. Authorities estimated that around 40 to 50 miners were trapped and are suspected to have died from the landslide. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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