In Camarines Norte: DENR-MGB upholds SP ordinance on mining
The Provincial Board of Camarines Norte recently passed a resolution expressing thanks and appreciation to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region V Panel of Arbitrators (POA) following its decision declaring Galeo Equipment Corporation as co-permittee and co-contractor to Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation under MPSA No. MLC-MRD-459.
The decision recognized and gave importance to Provincial Ordinance No. 52-2017 enacted by the Provincial Board which mandated that in case there are joint venture partners in mining projects within the province of Camarines Norte, the said joint venture partners should be deemed as co-permittees to ensure accountability for the implementation of mining laws and ensure responsible mining within the province.
The POA decision recognized the duties and responsibilities of local governments in the management and regulation of minahang bayan, small-scale and large scale mining, and all other forms of mining and related activities within the various local government units (LGUs) in the province.
Camarines Norte is known for its mineral deposits of gold, silver, iron, zinc and bull quartz and its non-metallic minerals include sand, limestone, clay and kaolin.
“This has energized the province to craft more legislation and institute measures that will encourage the growth of responsible mining activities in Camarines Norte. Just as we currently have a Tourism Code, I would like to champion the creation of a Mining Code to serve as framework for all mining-related activities,” said Board Member Gerardo G. Quiñones, SP chairman of the Committee on Environment.
“We are delighted with the decision as Galeo has a good track record in partnership with the LGUs and other stakeholders in Camarines Norte. The Company even volunteered to rehabilitate the Venida Pit in Barangay Napaod, Municipality of Labo averting a destructive environmental incident,” said Ex-Officio Board Member and PCL President Rey Kenneth N. Oning of Labo, Camarines Norte.
“For the first time in history, we at the Sangguniang Bayan of Labo (SB) have also passed a resolution mirroring the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Resolution,” he added.
Despite their different political affiliations, the provincial legislators have come together as one to support responsible mining. They have set aside politics to unite in upholding a landmark piece of legislation intended to solidify the LGU partnership with the DENR thereby promoting balanced socio-economic progress both in local and national front.
“We all understand that mining, if done in a responsible manner, can bring about much needed economic growth to our province. We look forward to working more closely with the national government to ensure we get the maximum benefits mining activities can offer while at the same time safeguarding the welfare of our people and preserving the environment,” Board Member Joseph Stanley G. Alegre said.
The SP Resolution and the SB Resolution are very timely given the intent of the DENR to open up the mining sector purposely to help the national government create more jobs and spur economic activity locally and at the national level.
“The SP and SB Resolution are just the start as we are looking for more effective ways to strengthen the coordination and partnership between the local government units in the province and the DENR and other national government agencies towards the effective and responsible implementation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other related laws,” said Vice Governor Joseph V. Ascutia.