DAVAO CITY, March 06 (PIA) -- The Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) XI will soon start conducting a census of small scale miners, and assessment of small-scale mining (SSM) areas.
Guesting in the recent Kapihan sa PIA, MGB XI Regional Director Edilberto Arreza revealed the plans of MGB XI to visit SSM sites in the Davao Region to update the list of SSM groups, and to know the condition of SSM sites.
“We would like to know the concentration of the mining areas and the conditions therein,” he said. He, however, made it clear that MGB had no intention of recommending to stop SSM operation but it looked forward to helping them adopt safe ways of mining operation and eventually to “possibly recommend their areas as a Minahan ng Bayan.”
“Nandyan na sila (They’re there) and we can’t stop them,” he said.
Arreza cited Compostela Valley to be the biggest area where the MGB targetted to conduct its mining census starting this year.
Nine of the 11 municipalities of Compostela Valley Province are found rich in metallic mineral resources especially gold. These are Maragusan, Monkayo, New Bataan, Compostela, Nabunturan, Mawab, Maco, Mabini and Pantukan.
Data from the office of Compostela Valley Provincial Gov. Arturo Uy revealed specific SSM areas located in Pamintaran and Tupaz in Maragusan; in sitios Balite and Buenas Tinago (Diwalwal) and in Pasian in Monkayo; Camanlangan, Andap ang Manurigao in New Bataan; in Ngan in Compostela; in Inupoan, Saraban, Tagnocon and Mainit in Nabunturan; in Andapon and Andili in Mawab; New Leyte, Panoraon, N. Barili, Teresa, Mainit and Masara in Maco; Golden Valley, De Oro, Anitapan and Mascareg in Mabini; and in Gumayan, Tiogdan, Araibo, Lumanggang, Panganason, Diat, Lit-ag, Biasong, Limatukan, Pulang Lupa and Boringot in Pantukan.
However, the provincial government of Compostela Valley through the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) has approved only seven people’s small mining areas or Minahan ng Bayan, covering 506 hectares. Further, 12 other groups which application to operate a Minahan ng Bayan is on–process.
Meanwhile, Gov. Uy welcomes moves of MGB to explore the SSM sites in its bid to conduct the mining census, saying this augurs well with his intention to regulate SSM operation especially in his province.
“That’s why mag-census para ma-regulate. (That’s why there’s census to regulate),” he said in a text message. “They are doing the assessment as to the safety of the mining area and the tunnels,” he added.
In his recently delivered State of the Province Address (SOPA), Uy urged municipal government officials to get serious in implementing the “No Habitation Policy” to rid mining areas of commercial structures, residential areas and mineral processing plants.
Uy emphasized his intention to prevent more loss of lives by “imposing provincial governing policies and measures” to regulate mining activities which he would not like miners to abuse.
“We understand that (mining) is the only source of livelihood of many but, we will not allow another loss of lives under our watch. Human lives are far more important and can never be exchanged for any other material thing that mother earth could offer,” he said.
Due to occurrences of landslide incidents in small scale mining areas, Uy last year pushed for the creation of the Ho Habitation policy that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved on the same year. He also had signed an executive order creating the Provincial Multi-Sectoral Task Force for Small-Scale Mines Safety, Health and Environmental Protection. (PIA-11/ Jeanevive Duron-Abangan)