Several members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines gathered from across the country in Bohol to aid the rescue and relief operations in the earthquake-ravaged province.

Teams from the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA), Bohol Limestone Corp, Carmen Copper Corp of Cebu, OceanaGold Philippines from Nueva Vizcaya, Philex Mining Corp from Benguet and Philsaga Mining Corp from Davao, among others, reached Tagbilaran City and immediately coordinated with local authorities.

As of last Friday, the miners teamed up with officials from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 7 Office and the Bohol Provincial Administrator’s Office to reach the towns affected by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, which also damaged buildings and properties in Cebu and nearby provinces. Bohol Limestone’s president and resident general manager Victor Bantol served as their ground commander.

Carmen Copper, a subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp, dispatched a 24-man team to Loon town, one of the hardest-hit areas of Bohol. Led by the company’s senior safety officer Jun Cimafranca, Carmen’s group included their company first aid team, mine employees, construction volunteers and a male nurse.

In Loon “there are still many houses in ruins,” said town Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez, who welcomed the miners’ assistance. He said they had ample manpower for retrieval operations but still needed food, water, heavy equipment, fuel and clothing.

Philsaga’s team went to neighbouring Antequera town, which had not yet been assessed for damage, said PMSEA president Louie Sarmiento, who joined his group in Bohol. “This is an area where many slides are reported. We can also help in the assessment and possible rescue and retrieval and road clearing if we can do it.”

Philex Mining’s rescue team, led by Greg Oldangon, arrived in Tagbilaran City on Friday, as well as the eight OceanaGold rescuers headed by Roumel Estimada.

The miners also brought hydraulic equipment, breathing apparatus, chargeable lights, rotating cutters, demolition hammers, generator sets, first aid kits and other materials for the rescue and relief efforts.