By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY— Three representatives in congress of the region expressed opposition to corporate mining during a meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC AdCom) held here at the National Economic and Development Authority – CAR.
The meeting was convened by the RDC to discuss with the congressmen the crafting of its Regional Development Plan under the administration President Benigno Aquino III. During the meeting Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr said he is happy that the RDC does not have a vision for mining adding that he has passed a resolution in Congress to put a moratorium on corporate mining in the region.
“Since the RDC’s premier vision is to maintain the region as the watershed cradle of the North, can I ask this body to make a declaration against corporate mining?” the Ifugao congressman asked.
Baguilat further said these mining companies are going outside of their countries of origin because of the many environmental restrictions to their operations. “They are not environmental friendly and their operation is contrary to our vision of keeping the region a watershed cradle,” he said.
Mt. Province Rep. Maximo Dalog and Baguio City Rep. Bernardo Vergara agreed to ban mining in the region.
National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) Acting Regional Director Juan Ngalob on the other hand did not respond to Baguilat’s querry if RDC can make a declaration against mining.
In the past, RDC had a program statement on making the region a mineral producer but it has removed this in deference to the strong anti-corporate mining sentiment of the Cordillera people.
RDC had also been advocating for responsible mining which means that mining applications should pass the DENR’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the NCIP’s Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of the concerned communities.
The RDC is the highest policy making body of a region. Its Advisory Committee is comprised of members of its Executive Committee and the Congressmen of the region. # nordis.net