TUBA—A hundred employees and other workers of Padcal mine, the gold-and-copper operations of Philex Mining Corp. in this province, cleaned up the Sal-angan River, in Itogon town’s Barangay Ampucao last Saturday.
Julius Bayogan, manager of Padcal mine’s environment, quality monitoring and evaluation departmernt (EQMED), said the cleanup drive was in line with the “Bayan Ko Linis Ko” program spearheaded by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, which promotes cleanliness in coastal and inland waterways, creeks, public places, and private establishments nationwide.
For four hours, volunteers from the different Padcal departments and security force picked up trash dumped in the two-kilometer river where Padcal gets water for its mill operation.
After dividing themselves into three groups—to be assigned in the river’s upstream, downstream, and the middle sections—the volunteers, wearing personal protective equipment like hard hats, rubber boots and reflecting vests, collected 14 sacks of refuse that weighed 465 kilograms. They segregated the garbage they collected into biodegradable, recyclable and residual wastes.
Residual wastes, Bayogan explained, include what remains of agricultural, industrial, and mining materials after a treatment process, as well as household garbage that cannot be re-used or recycled.
Bayogan said they will next clean up the Balog Creek, in Barangay Ampucao’s Sitio Balog. The 2.5-kilometer creek, which converges with the Agno River, and the Sal-angan River are both tributaries of Agno. Traversing the provinces of Benguet and Pangasinan, the Agno River is the Philippines’ third-largest river system with a drainage area of 5,952 square kilometer.
Philex said it maintains multi-sectoral teams that monitor compliance with environmental standards for air and water quality, solid waste management, reforestation and mine rehabilitation under the mine’s Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (AEPEP).
Last year, Philex Mining revealed that it spent P269 million for its AEPEP. This year’s environment-related expenses have been estimated to reach P493 million, it said.