SIX applicants seek the opportunity for the possible approval of a minahang bayan certification in Baguio City coming from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Cordillera of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the region.
In the weekly Talakayan sa Environment Code radio forum of the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM), engineer Alfred Genetiano of the MGB explained the six applicants for minahang bayan are composed of small-scale mining associations located at the outskirts of the city particularly at Kennon Road, Atok trail, Kias, and one at the Philippine Military Academy area where PMA have denied the issuance of a clearance.
“Our Central Office have released the result of its initial review, one is the requirement for consent of the private land owner if the area is not within a private land, there is also a finding that if it is within a watershed, it is a no go for mining,” Genetiano said.
All applicants passed through the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB) which is the implementing arm of the DENR with MGB as the chairperson and member of the technical working group which have received the compliance of the applicants presented to the CMRB for deliberation for the possible granting of the minahang bayan certification.
“We would like to repeat first, the applicant should have consent and from the private land owner, an endorsement coming from the the local government unit or the Barangay posing no objection for the application of a minahang bayan through the City Council. The said Information have been disseminated to the applicants and hopefully one of this City Mining Regulatory Board meeting who oversees small scale mining activities in the City,” the engineer said.
Based on the 2016 MGB inventory data, Baguio City has 1,500 individuals engaged in small scale mining.
Baguio City Representative Marquez Go recently filed a bill seeking to declare the city a mining-free zone in response to the growing geohazards and environmental threats within the Summer Capital.
Once passed into law, House Bill (HB) 5619 would effectively ban all mining activities within the city’s territorial jurisdiction, including small-scale mining and quarrying with all exploration permits, licenses, and small-scale mining contracts immediately revoked while existing small-scale mining operations are given one year to close their operations and undertake necessary rehabilitation and reforestation efforts of affected areas.
Baguio City has two mineral reservations by virtue of two proclamations by former President Carlos Garcia, excluding them from the Baguio Townsite Reservation: a 380-hectare area in barangays Laokan Apugan, Atok Trail and Kias under Proclamation 414 s.1957, and 159 hectares of land covering barangays Mines View and Lucban through Proclamation 572 s.1959.
Upon enactment into law of this bill, these two proclamations will be repealed with violators facing a penalty of imprisonment between one to six years, and a fine between P500,000 to P5 million.
“During the land summit called for by Congressman Go, we welcomed the suggestion of Congressman Go, Mayor Magalong and the LGU at that time that a technical working group will be formed to study these proposals and whatever development with us on small scale mining via-a-viz the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the answer will still come from the stakeholders which are the residents of Baguio City and we are just facilitators,” Genetiano added.