Personnel of the Philippine Military Academy arrested four supposed small-scale miners on Tuesday for working inside a mining tunnel within the jurisdiction of the academy.
The Benguet Police Provincial Office reported the three suspects failed to show any legal document or permit that authorizes their activity.
Those arrested were identified as Jerry Bantic, 30; Johnny D. Francisco, 54; Rodolfo Pe-is, 56; and a minor, whose name has been withheld by the authorities.
PMA personnel led by Staff Sgt. Roderick del Mundo also seized from the suspect assorted mining tools such as spade, three chisels, a mallet, and seven small sacks of ore.
The suspects and the evidences were brought to Tuba Municipal Police Station while a case of theft has been reportedly filed against them.
Earlier, this paper reported that an investigation team tasked to probe the existence of 60 small scale mining tunnels within the proclaimed PMA reservation has recommended the issuance of a cease and desist order against the operations of these tunnels.
“All of the small scale mining activities inside the reservation within the jurisdiction of Benguet are not covered by mining permits (and therefore are operating illegally),” the team concluded in a report submitted to the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board.
The investigation team added a cluster of 32 small scale mines located at Nugget Hill are well within the territorial jurisdiction of Baguio City.
During the inspection, the team reported that most of the tunnels were surprisingly abandoned, raising speculations that the owners were tipped off on the conduct of the investigation.