Guv: Mining policies must detail local government’s roles-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
MOUNTAIN Province Governor Leonard Mayaen hopes Executive Order (EO) 79, which lays out mining reforms in the country, would also include and detail the role of local governments.
Mayaen said the role of local governments, especially in regulating irresponsible mining practices and small scale mining, should be included in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the new mining directive from Malacañang.
The governor said he is not against mining as long as it adheres to existing laws.
In his province, he recently activated the Provincial Mining Board to mobilize the Minahan ng Bayan, imposing small scale miners to organize and subject themselves to regulation.
Among those prohibited in the new mining executive order are destructive mining practices like the use of mercury.
He said small scale mining activities are also beneficial and provides livelihood to residents in towns such as Bontoc and in Sagada but these should adhere to safety regulations set by the local government.
Department of Tourism Regional director Purificacion Molintas also clarified that no specific areas have been identified in the executive order as their department is yet to finalize the list of tourism development areas to be safeguarded from mining activities.
Based on the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), areas prohibited for mining activities are in Central Cordillera, specifically Baguio-Benguet and Mountain Province.
However, the national directive does not specify local governments in these provinces where mining activities are banned.
Based on the order, several areas have been banned from mining like in tourism development areas specified in the NTDP and prime agricultural lands such as plantations and other properties devoted to valuable crops.
Molintas said their agency will furnish the final list of areas that will be banned from mining activities in the next six months as the Implementing Rules and Regulations are still being finalized.
She added that the list of areas for tourism development excludes existing mining sites prior to the issuance of the mining executive order.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 17, 2012.