Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today reiterated his appeal to all local government officials to revisit the geohazard maps distributed by the agency and institute mitigating measures to shield communities from danger.

At the same time, he asked the same officials to cease from further issuing small-scale mining (SSM) permits as the DENR no longer issues environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for SSM.

Paje sounded off the appeal in the wake of the Pantukan landslide early Thursday morning, which has already reportedly claimed 25 lives as of press time.

The DENR chief said that he has already dispatched a team of geologists to assess the area for possible dangers posed on rescuers, warning them of the possibility of further landslides due to the condition of the soil as well as holes caused by small-scale mining.

He said that he, along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, had visited in April 2011 and found cracks along the mountain ridges. “The area continues to act as a magnet to as many as 200,000 individuals during a gold rush,” he said. They had then warned the LGU that it would only be a matter of time before the mountainside would collapse.