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Around seventy officers of the Philippine National Police in Ifugao attended the seminar on Environmental Laws Against Illegal Mining conducted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera Administrative Region (MGB-CAR). The activity was held on April 5, 2017 at the Ifugao Police Provincial Office and was facilitated by personnel from the Mine Management Division (MMD) of MGB-CAR.

These police officers have been deputized by virtue of MGB-CAR Special Order No. 100 signed by Police Chief Superintendent Elmo Francis O. Sarona, Regional Director, PRO-COR and Ms. Fay W. Apil, OIC, Regional Director, MGB-CAR and Chairperson, PMRB-Ifugao. Said special order deputizes all the Officers and Members of the Philippine National Police in the Province of Ifugao to enforce pertinent rules and regulations against illegal mining in their respective jurisdiction.

Under the Special Order, they shall apprehend perpetrators of illegal mining including the illegal transport of minerals, mineral products, sand and gravel or quarry materials and file the appropriate charges; prepare appropriate documents for the filing of cases before the proper court in collaboration with the Regional Director and the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board; seize and confiscate equipment, tools and conveyances used in illegal mining including illegal transport of minerals and mineral products; conduct monitoring and investigation of illegal mining; and to submit monitoring or apprehension reports to the Bureau Director through the MGB Regional Director.

The deputation and capacitation of the officers and members of PNP-Ifugao will surely help in the intensification and sustainability of the government’s campaign against illegal mining activities in the province.

PMRB AbraThe members of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) of Abra, in its recent meeting at the Provincial Capitol Building in Bangued on April 5, 2017, were reminded of its duty to oversee the issuance of permits for sand and gravel extraction in the province.

Ms. Fay W. Apil, OIC Regional Director of MGB-CAR and concurrent Chairperson of the Board, reminded members of the board that sand and gravel extraction activities in the province need to be regulated and monitored.

The members of the board composed of a representative from the office of the Governor, who co-chairs the PMRB; representatives from the Provincial Board and the small-scale mining communities, together with personnel from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Lagangilang, and staff of the Vice-Governor’s Office were provided information on the laws pertinent to sand and gravel regulation.

Engr. Alfredo J. Genetiano, OIC Chief of the Mine Management Division of MGB-CAR gave a brief lecture on the provisions of the law regarding sand and gravel extraction permits. He reiterated the provisions of RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 regarding the Local Government Unit’s role on the approval of applications for sand and gravel, quarry, guano, gemstone gathering and gratuitous permits and for industrial sand and gravel permits not exceeding five (5) hectares within their respective jurisdiction, subject to valid and existing mining rights (Section 8 of DAO-2010-21 of the revised IRR of RA No. 7942).

Said permits are to be applied at the Provincial Local Government Unit. Application process involves submission of the following requirements to the Provincial Governor’s Office: 1. Location Map; 2. Work Program; 3. Proof of Technical Competence; 4. Proof of Financial Capability; 5. Environmental Protection Program; and 6. Environmental Compliance Certificate. After which, an Area Status and Clearance/Consent shall be obtained from the concerned agency or landowner. The application shall then be posted; then evaluated by the PMRB and Provincial Governor’s Office and shall be endorsed for the Governor’s approval.

MGB-CAR is actively campaigning against illegal mining and quarrying activities through its information dissemination efforts. This is also in response to letters reaching this office calling the bureau’s attention to unregulated quarrying activities in the province.

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More than a hundred-people coming from the host and neighboring barangays of Philex Mining Corporation (PMC) in Itogon and Tuba and representatives of the mining company gathered at the MGB-CAR Conference Hall on March 10, 2017 to discuss and resolve issues concerning the two parties.  The following representatives from concerned agencies and local government units attended the dialogue and shared their piece on the issues presented: Engr. Rodolfo L. Velasco, Jr., Chief, Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division, MGB-Central Office, RD Reynaldo Digamo, EMB-CAR, Mr. Joel Behis, DENR-CAR, Mr. Adam P. Ventura, Provincial Government of Benguet, Mr. Mario M. Baucas, Benguet Congressional District Office, Hon. Ignacio Rivera, Mayor, Tuba and Hon. Eddie P. Amuasen, Punong Barangay, Ampucao.

MGB-CAR convened the dialogue to address the issues raised by community leaders and members with the mining company operating in their communities.     Letters from community members which have been sent to the national agencies have also been discussed and addressed during the dialogue.

The MGB-CAR OIC, Regional Director Fay W. Apil stressed that the dialogue was convened to address and resolve issues and to come up with win-win solutions for both parties.  Continuing consultation with the community leaders and the company representatives is always encouraged.  MGB-CAR and other government agencies will always extend assistance whenever needed.

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In support to the Fire Safety Month campaign, the personnel of MGB-CAR during its Monday convocation on March 13, 2017 attended a brief presentation on Fire Safety Measures.

Mr. Dale A. Challongen, Division Chief, Environmental Health and Safety, Fire Chief, Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA), explained how fire behaves and how it could be prevented and controlled.  He also demonstrated the proper care of a fire extinguisher and how to use it in case of fire.

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RD Fay W. Apil and Engr. Agustin L. Balliang, Jr present Mr. Challongen with a token of appreciation for being the resource person on Fire Safety during the Monday convocation.