ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government is pushing for the imposition of limitation on the period allowed for owners of mineral claims in the different parts of the country prior to the reversion of the same to the State for such lands to be used for other productive purposes beneficial to the greater majority of the populace.
Mayor Victorio T. Palangdan stated that there are already abandoned mineral claims in the municipality that are no longer being used for mining activities of the companies that declared the same but the lands cannot be used for other purposes because they still remain as private properties which require the consent of the owners prior to their proposed conversion.
He said that appropriate legislations must be enacted by Congress putting a limit on the period for the mineral lands to be developed so that owners will be compelled to maximize the use of their declared properties instead of leaving them abandoned and not being used for desired productive purposes.
The local chief executive pointed out that if the owners of the declared mineral claims will not be able to use their mineral lands during the prescribed period, then the same must automatically revert to the State to allow the concerned government agencies and the local government to decide on what use will be the abandoned mineral lands that will be beneficial to the people living in the different parts of the municipality.
Earlier, Palangdan disclosed that only 3 percent of the town’s total land area are titled while the rest of the lands are either watershed and forest reservations or mineral claims of mining companies that are operating in the municipality.
According to him, in as much as the local government wants to use the abandoned mineral claims for public use because the mining companies are no longer interested to pursue their desired operations in some of the areas in the municipality, it could not do so because the said properties are still considered as private under the name of the mining companies.
The municipal mayor explained that mining companies that no longer use their declared mineral lands for its prescribed purpose should voluntarily waive the aforesaid lands in favor of the government so that it will be used by the concerned government agencies and the local government for productive purposes that will be beneficial to the greater majority of the populace so that the lands will not remain barren and unused thereby depriving the host communities of properties that they could use for projects that will be beneficial for their welfare.
Itogon is one of the mineral-rich municipalities in Benguet having played host to the operation of various mining companies over the past several decades. The municipality is one of the first-class towns that rely on its share from the operation of mining companies to sustain the operation of the local government through the implementation of high impact development projects and improved delivery of basic services to the people.
Mayor Palangdan expressed optimism that Congress will be able to consider his proposal of putting a limit on the allowable period to use the mineral claims of mining companies so that the same could automatically revert to the State for the same to be used for public purposes beneficial to the people living in the various communities. By HENT