CLARIN, Bohol – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has probably succeeded in convincing small-time miners to abandon their extraction of river deposits in barangay Candajec, this town, if not, the miners realized they have no future if they stay for here long.
A recent visit here showed the said area, which also affected by the earthquake the other year, has been deserted. Residents nearby said that the small-time miners left without notice. It was learned that agencies concerned discouraged the said mining activities due to danger it posed to the workers.
It will be recalled the river’s sand and gravel extraction initiated by enterprising families, some of whom are earthquake victims, has employed children who worked hard for the money.
Elders working here denied there was “child labor” as sand gathering workers. They admitted they have no proof of legal permit allowing them to extract and haul river deposits. What they called as their livelihood was already known by their officials. But the opposite was true. Two male youngsters did what others do like shoveling or hauling sand materials.
In an interview earlier, hard life pushed “Randy” (not his real name), a grade-schooler, into this dangerous and dirty job. He is one of the workers of 45 families who were then dependent on manual sand extraction and stone-crushing venture here.
“Randy” wore only mud-spattered shorts and black pair of slippers but no shirt, exposing his slim fragile build as he walked on a sandy-stoney river as he carries his load of half-full sack of sand. Minding no heat, he tried to negotiate with river bank’s passageway up to unload his cargo on a stockyard, where fissures as result of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, are evident. Aside from ably carrying the weight, he literally dug on the river bed for deposits in knee-deep water, shovelled and put them to empty sack before transporting it to stockyard.
He said he is 12 years old. He is the youngest of four children whose mother (name withheld) is a housewife but his father already deceased. He said he did not attend to his class on that day (during the interview) since he must work to help the family. Sometimes he attended classes only a half day and proceeded to his new found intriguing job, he said.
He said he earns a few hundreds of pesos at PhP8.00/can of sand sold, only if sales are brisk at times, but not everyday. His daily earnings is not much as what his older companions take from sand extraction gamble.
Fifteen of the families reside here and they do shovelling of mineral deposits, haul and sell them everyday for two years already for their respective riceand fish, the group’s leader Jacinto Tisoy said earlier.
The other 30 families come from Ubujan, Tubigon, a neigboring town, were into stone gathering and stone-crushing with the use of hammer on the same area, Charlene “Cheche” Cosare, leader of the group, said.