Issue of August 6, 2017
Mt. Province

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Two miners perish due to gas poisoning in Itogon tunnel
by Ofelia C. Empian

Two miners perished in another unfortunate gas poisoning incident inside a tunnel in Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet on July 31.

The victims were identified as Robert Gorteza, 28, a native of Bagulin, La Union and Anthony Gorteza Salas, 30 years old, native of Itogon.

Police investigation showed that at around 8 a.m., Gorteza went inside the tunnel to get their mining equipment.

He failed to come out for lunch which prompted his cousin Salas to follow and check for him. But he too, never returned.

Suspecting that the duo was trapped, Peter Gorteza Salas, Anthony’s brother, followed them inside but along the way, he smelled a foul odor emanating from the tunnel, which he presumed to be gas.

He called for help and they used a blower to supply oxygen inside.

Once supplied with oxygen, they  found the bodies of the victims. The victims were declared dead by responding medical personnel. Their relatives agreed not to request for the conduct of autopsy.

Their   remains were laid   at   their   residence   at   Millsite, Gumatdang, Itogon.

Earlier, Gov. Crescencio Pacalso has ordered the crafting of a protocol on the issuance of advisories to small-scale mining activities during typhoons and other weather disturbances upon the discretion of local chief executives.

Executive Order 2017-015 dated June 28 is based on situations observed during typhoons and other weather occurrences.

“Hence, advisories on small-scale mining activities may not effectively apply to all those engaged in small-scale mining within the province,” the order stated.

The order also reminds that officials in municipalities where SSM operate are in the best position to determine the advisory to be issued in case of weather disturbances in their respective areas.

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