BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong and some members of the local legislative body support the proposal of some sectors to declare as a mining-free city to help lessen the threats to the city’s environment.
The new local chief executive underscored people from all walks of life are aware of the adverse effects of mining to the environment thus it is best for the local government not to allow the small or large-scale mining in the city considering its already threatened environment.
Proclamation No. 414 and Proclamation No. 572 declare some parts of Baguio, specifically Loakan-Apugan, Atok Trail, Kias and some parts of Mines view and Gibraltar, respectively, as mineral zones that may allow mining activities in the city.
Earlier, the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB) passed a resolution seeking the possible repeal of the said proclamations to prevent the conduct of mining operations in the city that might pose a serious threat to the state of the environment as some of the declared mining zones fall under declared geohazard areas in the city.
Mineral zones are not also contained in the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), thus, the bid to declare the city as mining-free to prevent enterprising individuals and companies from prospecting and mining in the mineralized areas which are now actually heavily populated.
Some legislators also expressed their support to the declaration of Baguio as a mining-free city as some of the small-scale miners enter the territory of the city through the towns of Itogon and Tuba.
According to them, the declared mineral zones no longer serve their purpose as some of the said areas are already heavily populated, thus, it must instead be declared as alienable and disposable and subsequently awarded to the qualified home lot applicants due to the growing needs for lands for housing in the different parts of the city.
Aside from being heavily populated, the declared mineral zones are also part of the geohazard areas because of the reported presence of sinkholes that will pose a serious threat to the safety of the people living in the said communities, especially when there will be an enormous growth in the number of inhabitants in the future.
Local legislators will study the options to be undertaken by the local government on how to declare the city as a mining-free zone in response to the snowballing clamor from the city’s populace to ensure the preservation and protection of the city’s environment from the adverse effects of mining, an environmentally critical endeavour.
Itogon and Tuba towns in Benguet are mineral-rich communities that derive most of their income from their share of the taxes paid by the mining companies within their areas of jurisdiction which gives them their first class status.
By Dexter A. See