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Monday, September 27, 2010

I-WITNESS “Lola Minera" airs Monday (September 27)

Howie Severino enters the dangerous world of gold mining in Itogon, Benguet. The documentary features women who are forced to do this dangerous job due to poverty.

Benguet is arguably the most pockmarked and pitted province in the country today due to centuries of mining for gold – a century of corporate mining continued today by small-scale miners. It’s a sight to behold – a mountain with hundreds of bore holes on its façade, and even more fascinating to enter one of these dogholes or ‘usok’ as the locals call them. The dogholes extend for several kilometers snaking horizontally and vertically. It’s wide enough to crab walk in single file.
It’s a dangerous job – the threat of a tunnel collapsing to bury one alive is a constant. So is oxygen deprivation or gas poisoning. During typhoons, the danger of overflowing rivers looking for alternate water channels have resulted to flooding in some dogholes, killing miners who did not to get out in time.
It is typically a man’s job. But hard times have forced even their women to enter the dogholes. These are not your typical women, however. For one, some of them are already lolas! In between crawling in the dark, dripping tunnels for several hours to collect sacks of ore, these women are raising families and doing household chores.
"Lola Minera" airs on Monday, September 27th, on GMA-7's I-Witness.

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