Solon appeals for more help for Ifugao miners

MANILAIfugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat appealed to both the government and private sectors for more assistance to the families of miners who perished in Itogon, Benguet, many of whom are from Ifugao and were sole breadwinners in their families.

Baguilat started the campaign immediately after it was known that scores of miners were killed in the landslides caused by the heavy rains from Typhoon Ompong, which recently battered Northern Luzon.

The call for donations in cash or in kind, such as rice and hygiene kits, was heeded by a number of individuals and institutions, who sent help through Baguilat's office.

So far, close to PHP500,000 has been collected through fund-raising activities in Manila, which drew the support of fellow representatives in Congress and civil society organizations.

Pledges also continue to pour in to help the families of the fallen Ifugao miners.

It is a testament to the generous Filipino spirit that assistance immediately became available to our Ifugao brethren. The people can be assured that we will do all we can to attend to their families' needs. We are confident that all branches of government, as well as civil society organizations, are one with us in this endeavor, Baguilat said.

Baguilat also called for a review of existing mining laws to ensure that small-scale miners will be able to work in a safe environment.

At the same time, there will have to be other livelihood options available to those who are into mining to provide food on the table for their families, he said.

With assistance from the national government, perhaps we will be able to encourage our people to give up mining altogether and return to the province and engage in the traditional livelihood of agriculture or other viable alternatives. We are famous for our rice and also for our coffee. The potential for growth remains and we just need further assistance to unleash that full potential, he said.

As congressman of Ifugao, Baguilat supported livelihood generation in his province, by providing enterprise grants to community organizations, helping organic farming communities in their marketing and production needs, and allocating funds for the improvement of farm-to-market roads. (PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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