THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is finalizing its geohazard mapping in Western Visayas with focus on areas vulnerable to climate change and other natural calamities like floods and earthquakes, among others.

MGB Regional Director Leo Van Juguan said the national geohazard mapping and assessment program seeks to identify various geological features and associated hazards; generate geohazard maps and reports; identify relocation site, properties and infrastructures to be affected; and inform local officials about the susceptibility of their community and municipality to various geohazards.

Juguan said his office has completed geohazard maps conducted in 2006-2010 with a scale of 1:50,000 distributed to all cities and municipalities of the region.

Also completed was the distribution of preliminary geohazard maps conducted in 2011-2014 with a scale of 1:10,000, he added.

He said the geohazard maps show Western Visayas' susceptibility to high, moderate and low landslides, as well as to high, moderate and low flooding.

Similarly, the MGB is implementing Executive Order 79 in improving small-scale mining activities.

To address issues on small-scale mining, the MGB said that activities shall comply with Republic Act (RA) 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 and the Environmental Impact Statement System requirements under Presidential Decree 1586.

Pursuant to RA 7076, small-scale mining operations shall be undertaken only within the declared People’s Small-Scale Mining Areas or “Minahang Bayan,” Juguan said.

He added that small-scale mining shall not be applicable for metallic minerals except gold, silver and chromite as provided in the law.

Executive Order 79 also provides the declaration of “Minahang Bayan” at least one in every province in Western Visayas.

MGB has initially identified two areas proposed for “Minahang Bayan” in Western Visayas: Barangay Unidos in Nabas, Aklan, and Barangay Igcagay in Libertad, Antique. (LCP/Sunnex)