Cimatu vows to fast track Minahang Bayan applications

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu vows to fast track Minahang Bayan applications following his recent order to shut down illegal small-scale mines.

On February 15, Cimatu visited areas in Itogon, Benguet which are being applied for as Minahang Bayan by small-scale miners. Specifically, these areas are the Antamok which is covered by the patented area of Benguet Corporation and the Gold Creek area which falls within Gold Creek Mining Corporation’s mining patent. Cimatu promised to fast track Minahang Bayan applications in these areas so that small-scale mining operations are legalized and regulated.

So far, no Minahang Bayan has been declared in the Cordillera Administrative Region. According to the records of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-CAR, there are currently 65 pending applications for Minahang Bayan in the region. Some of these have been endorsed to the MGB Central Office while some still have documentary requirements which are yet to be completed.

The requirements in applying for a Minahang Bayan include petition for Minahang Bayan; the status of the area; evaluation report from the MGB; results of initial review of the DENR and MGB; proofs of notice to mining tenement holders, private land owners, to the host local government units (LGU), and to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); proof of posting; proof of publication; certification from the City or Provincial Mining Regulatory Board that there is no protest filed against the application and/or that favorable decision is final and executory; endorsement by the majority of LGU council members; certificate of non-overlap and certificate of compliance with corresponding Memorandum of Agreement from the NCIP; and consent from the land owners or companies who have claims over the area being applied for Minahang Bayan. In case of areas with indigenous peoples, a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is necessary.

According to Engr. Alfredo Genetiano, chief of the MGB-CAR’s Mine Management Division, in CAR, the prerequisites for the FPIC and the FPIC process itself are usually the most challenging to comply with as the documentary requirements for the conduct of FPIC are too technical for small scale miners while the FPIC process takes time.

By DENR Release

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