Council set to renew call for mining ban in city

BENGUET. In Itogon, police try to convince a miner in Tuding to evacuate his shanty as Typhoon Rosita approached Benguet. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has enforced an order to stop all illegal mining activities in the Cordilleras. (Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes)

MEMBERS of the City Council are inclined to re-impose the ban on mining in Baguio City following the move to review and study the present Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

Councilor Mylen Yaranon said that based on discussions and consultations with other lawmakers, they favored the return of the “No mining in Baguio” provision in the city’s Environment Code.

“I have talked with several councilors in the city and they are amenable. But do we have any small-scale mining operations which have entered the territorial boundaries of the city?” Yaranon asked.

Engineer Santiago Bugnosen of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Cordillera confirmed the presence of small-scale mining sites by virtue of a presidential proclamation.

“Practically here in Baguio, there are three areas being operated particularly in Kias and Wabac, and one in Atok Trail which was declared as a mineral reservation which is one thing we have to consider also if we put out mining, that needs to be re-classified as a mineral reservation area,” Bugnosen said.

Proclamation No. 414 issued by former President Carlos Garcia in 1957 declared some 380.9 hectares within the city’s townsite reservation covering portions of Barangays Loakan - Apugan, Kias and Atok Trail as mineral reservation areas and excluded the same from the city’s townsite reservation while Proclamation No. 572 issued by Garcia in 1959 excluded some 159 hectares from the city’s townsite reservation covering Barangays Mines view and Lucban from the city’s townsite reservation and declaring it as mineral reservation in the city.

“According to our zoning, it does not classify any area like that which is why I feel that our move to review our CLUP is paramount for it to be in consonance with each other,” Yaranon said.

Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) Chairman Erdolfo Balajadia said despite the issuance of the proclamation, there are still avenues which the local legislative body can do to make such reclassification.

“That is true but then, we can always ask our congressman to reword or amend or whatever, for us residents in Baguio to be safe from the negative effects of small-scale mining because it is always destructive,” said Balajadia.

Baguio City Representative Marques Go earlier expressed support for the return of the “No Mining in Baguio” provision of the Environment Code.

“I have asked the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to give me an overall report of the mining in the City of Baguio and probably in the next few weeks when I get the report and from there, I can make the necessary steps to assure that the city, in terms of its environment, is protected,” Go said.


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