THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau–Cordillera (MGB–CAR) expressed its full support in a proposed bill declaring Baguio as a mining free zone filed by Representative Mark Go.
Faye Apil, MGB–CAR director, said their office is backing the house bill which was earlier submitted to Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. who leads the House Committee on Natural Resources for the deliberation of House Bill 5619.
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 villages 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.
Go have earlier expressed his openness to the request of the MGB for the possible exclusion of some areas identified under the two proclamations following an explanation in their committee at the lower house.
MGB-CAR has received six small-scale mining association applicants for the city and these have undergone the process and are still awaiting the response from the City Mining Regulatory Board for approval.
The Baguio lawmaker filed the bill in response to the growing geohazards and environmental threats within the Summer Capital.