Representatives of MGB and NCIP pose for a group photo after the dialogue held last March 14-15, 2019 at the MGB-CAR Conference Hall in Baguio City.Seated from left: Susan Fianza, Fara Joice G. Hornedo, Atty Jeanette A. Florita, Loly Lilibeth A. Bongsalo and Ms. Alma SarioStanding from right: Atty. Francisco Bilog, Atty. Arthur Herman, Engr. SAntiago Bugnosen, Atty. Roland Calde, Engr. Alfredo J. Genetiano, Engr. Teodorico A. Sandoval, Engr. Joel A. Natividad
To harmonize policies and guidelines on the declaration of Minahang Bayan areas and awarding of small-scale mining contracts in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), representatives of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) met on March 14-15, 2019 at the Conference Hall of MGB-CAR.
Representing NCIP in the dialogue were Atty. Jeanette A. Florita, Director, Legal Affairs Office (LAO), Atty. Arthur Herman (LAO) and Atty. Roland Calde, regional director of NCIP-CAR. MGB was represented by Engr. Teodorico Sandoval, Engr. Joel Natividad, Fara Joice Hornedo from the central office and; Engr. Alfredo Genetiano, Atty. Francisco Bilog, Engr. Gilbert Ayugat and Engr. Brent Pagteilan from the regional office. Ms. Alma Sario, represented the office of the Assistant Secretary for Mining Concerns of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the meeting.
Among the main issues discussed during the meeting was whether Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO) can be issued only after the Declaration of Minahang Bayan (MB) Area but prior to the issuance of a Small-Scale Mining Contract.
Relative to the issue above the following agreements were reached:
- Compliance of the Prior Consent under section 7 RA 7076 is sufficient upon completion of the following:
Prior to declaration for MB:
- Notice to the ICCs/IPs upon acceptance of application; PMRB shall coordinate with the NCIP for the list of ICCs/IPs legitimate leaders to be notified.
- Involvement of the affected IPs/ICCs, thru their representatives, in the determination of the are status and evaluation assessment;
- PMRB consultation with IPs/ICCs.
- Compliance of the FPIC under RA 8371,Sec 59 (post declaration requirement)
- FPIC by the contractor
- Consider validation should the applicant be the community or an IPO of the community owning the ancestral domain (community-initiated/solicited application will undergo validation under NCIP process instead of FPIC process).
In consideration of all these provisions, both parties agreed to streamline requirements in the declaration of Minahang Bayan and will soon meet after recommendations, especially the creation of a small group for the drafting of a legal instrument and guidelines, have been presented to the approving bodies of both agencies.
This dialogue is a milestone in the agencies’ efforts to harmonize policies and guidelines to immediately address the plight of small-scale miners in the region.