Riceli C. Mendoza


This study is situational analysis of T’boli women in mining in Kematu and Desawo, T’boli, South Cotabato, Philippines. A total of 84 women respondents who were involved in mining were interviewed. They were 18-50 years old, married and with a household size of 5 to 10. Many reached elementary level of education. Their role in mining varied from being cooks, stone washers, “banlasera”, sack washers and “unaw”. The cooks bring food to the miners who were usually members of their households. The “banlasera” miners fit their sieves or filters in the water to catch the gold particles present in the flowing water. Those who worked as “unaw” brushed special stones impregnated with gold particles and catch these in a container of water. The sack washers washed the sacks infiltrated with gold dust soaking in the river water. The jobs of the women in mining made them earn additional income for their family; however, they claimed that it was not enough to meet the needs of their households. Related to mining, almost all the women reported that they experienced various ailments like skin rashes, headaches, stomach trouble, skin allergy, cough, colds/influenza, chest pain, diarrhea, stroke and eye irritation. They believed that these ailments were caused by bacteria in the contaminated water, polluted air and sudden change of temperature in the environment (hot to cold or vice versa). Working in the mining area poses health risk because the women were directly exposed to the contaminated water and polluted environment. Looking at their welfare, it is of significant value to make them aware of the proper precautions. Moreover, pregnant women must not be allowed to work in the mining area to avoid health risks to among them and their babies.


women’s role in mining, small scale mining, South Cotabato

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