Iloilo City – The DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Regional Office 6 (MGB RO-6) conducted a training-workshop to re-orient quarry, small-scale mining and sand and gravel (commercial and industrial) operators in Region 6 on February 7, 2019 at the Iloilo Grand Hotel on policies and standards that must be followed in their operations.
MGB RO-6 Regional Director Roger A. de Dios said that the ultimate aim of meeting is to improve and strengthen the implementation of laws and policies governing mining and quarrying operations by educating our permit holders and to communicate with them that the government is serious in strictly implementing these regulations.
“This is a good venue to streamline all the policies governing quarry, and industrial sand and small-scale mining operations,” Regional Director Roger de Dios said. Permit holders expressed their appreciation for the initiative as it gave them the opportunity to tackle issues in their areas which may be similar in other areas and so come up with common solutions.
From the six provinces in Western Visayas, a total of 73 sand and gravel, quarry and small scale mining permit holders attended the meeting. Quarry, commercial sand and gravel, industrial sand and gravel (5 hectares and below) and small-scale mining permits are being issued by the local government particularly the province under the local government code. Meanwhile, the local government and the DENR, MGB maintain a coordinative function to ensure that mining laws and regulations are strictly implemented as provided by the Mining Act of 1995.
A pool of MGB RO-6 technical resource persons presented the flow and guidelines of the application process, environmental, community relations, social development and reportorial requirements, and the legal grounds for cancellation of permits and penal provisions.
“In implementing environmental and social development programs, one very significant aspect of the law is the requirement of environmental and social guarantee funds to ensure that plans are translated into work programs with corresponding funds to ensure that these are implemented. What is perhaps needed is to have programs that have more impact on our environmental protection efforts and to the development of host and neighboring communities,” RD de Dios added.
RD de Dios engaged with the participants in looking at the current state concerning the implementation of mining and quarrying regulations at the small scale level. He shared possible areas for improvement based on his own experience and what has been done when he was regional director in Region 13.
“We have to cooperate and work together in observing what is required by the law, and as your compliance improves, you will also be happy to see how everything is in order. For one, the industry needs more positive reports to combat the negative perception of mining which can be attributed to a laxity in the implementation of the law, and the lack of facts on the contribution of mining to local and national growth, employment and community development,” RD de Dios said. He emphasized as well that prompt and complete reporting should be taken seriously as statistical reports constitute the government’s database and serve as a basis for sound policy-making.
The permit holders discussed during the workshop how to standardize the computation of fees and taxes which will be elevated to the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board in each province for possible adoption in their respective ordinances.
“This is just the beginning. Rest assured that with the cooperation of our permit holders and strong partnership with the local government, we in the national government vow to strengthen the implementation of laws and policies so as to build a more responsible mining industry may it be a large-scale or small-scale operation. (MGB RO-6)