Lifting on moratorium of small-scale mining sought

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

This post has already been read 5258 times!

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government requested the environment department to immediately lift the existing moratorium on the operations of small-scale mining in the Cordillera because of the dire need of the people for livelihood, especially now that there are no other alternative jobs that the government can provide them, to allow them to cope with the heavy impact of the prevailing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to their survival.

In his letter to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Gov. Melchor Diclas conveyed his all-out support to the clamor of the pocket miners in the province for the immediate lifting of the moratorium on the small-scale mining operations to allow the thousands of pocket miners who come from the different indigenous peoples inside and outside the province to have legitimate sources of livelihood to provide for the needs of their families who were affected by the suspension of the operation of the small-scale mining industry over two years ago.

If granted, the governor said that the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) will be issuing a temporary small-scale mining permit to pending applications for the declaration as Minahang Bayan sites around the province.

He pointed out that the proposed lifting of the ban on small-scale mining will definitely provide a breather to the heavily impacted small-scale miners, including their family members, in sustaining their daily needs.

In September 2018, Cimatu publicly announced the temporary suspension of all small-scale mining operations in the region following the tragic landslide at Level 070, Ucab, Itogon town that claimed the lives of hundreds of small-scale miners and members of their families who sought shelter in an abandoned bunkhouse of the Benguet Corporation at the height of Typhoon Ompong.

According to him, the affected small-scale miners are mostly members of the indigenous peoples of the region who claim that their mining areas have been operational since time in memorial or before August 1, 1987.

Further, he claimed that their areas of operation are within the applied areas for declaration as Minahang Bayan sites which are coincidentally the preference case as mentioned in different memoranda from the central office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), notably those dated April 15, 2019, November 5, 2019, and November 15, 2019.

Earlier, the PMRB Benguet approved Resolution No. 002, series of 2019, dated January 25, 2019, that adopted the guidelines in the processing and awarding of temporary small-scale mining permits within the province.

However, the MGB central office claimed that pursuant to Section 11(b) of Executive Order No. 79, small-scale mining activities shall be undertaken within the declared people’s small-scale mining areas or Minahang Bayan and small-scale mining contracts can only be issued following the declaration of an area as a Minahang Bayan subject to the submission of pertinent requirements outlined in DENR Administrative Order 2015-03. By HENT

Comments