MABINI, Bohol Residents of barangay Marcelo cry for help and want officials to allow cave mining back as their source of livelihood, a concerned citizen (name withheld said in an interview Popog Cave is considered here as one of the rich sources of guano deposits for phosphate raw materials that have been stocked for many years, he said. The residents are expected to raise the issue during the simultaneous barangay assembly today (Oct. 12, Sunday), he said. The source said that the residents are wondering why the municipal officials do not allow this when this cave mining has been there for many
years that enables them to buy rice and fish from income they earned in laboring rock phosphate deposits.
In fact, the barangay officialdom has passed Resolution No. 53, series of 2014, ?authorizing Tantrade Corp, Tagbilaran City, to operate guano mining at Popog Cave, in this barangay, the residents claim, he said. The Resolution was passed on September 8, 2014 and signed by barangay secretary Bernadith D. Wahing and barangay chairman Eutropio M. Valentos. The said barangay Resolution is considered as one of the prerequisites in the renewal of permit from Governor?s office to extract guano deposits of the cave. But the incumbent municipal officials led by Mayor Esther Fostanes-Tabigue are said to be preventing the renewal of Tantrade’s permit based on Municipal Ordinance No. 06, series of 2007, that declares tourism sites including Popog Cave as one of the tourist spots of the town. But the Ordinance did not categorically provide a ban on the cave mining, the source said.
Along the Popopg Cave, are Lumayag Islet, Naasug Cliff and Aguipo View Park are also declared as tourist sites o the municipality. The Ordinance was enacted during the reign of then Mayor Stephen A. Rances who signed it on Oct. 8, 2007, and Tabigue also signed it as former vice-mayor here. Municipal councilors Erwin V. Uy, Olimpiades O. Madriñan, Edgardo N. Ybañez, Crescencio B. bernales, Emilio C. Garcia, Vicente Ismael P. Gulle, Jr., Atty. Allan O. Legaspi, Alipio A. Vallejos (ABC president) and Jubeth C. Teruel (SK chair) also signed the said measure.
The environmental committee of the Sangguniang Bayan of this town also refused to allow the cave mining by Tantrade for environmental reasons. The committee’s recommendations point out that the cave’s physical features were extremely exploited particularly the wall and floor speleothems due to severe excavation. Natural restoration or rehabilitation process is highly required,the committee said. It claimed that Popog cave is a roosting site of thousands of insect bats and swiflets representing the municipality’s remaining biological resources.