By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau is set to declare the first Minahang Bayan to be located in Itogon, Benguet.
This was announced by Engr. Alfredo Genetiano of MGB Cordillera during the recent meeting of the Regional Development Council Sectoral Committee on Watershed and Environmental Management.
According to him, the National Commission on Indigenous (NCIP) has already issued the Certificate of None Overlap to the applicant, the Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association (LIPMA) in Ampucao, Itogon. This was the remaining process aside from the clearance signed by DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia.
Besides the one in Itogon, there are also three other small-scale mining associations that received area clearances according to the MGB official. These are in Apayao, Mountain Province and in Gambang, Bakun, Benguet.
He said their office recorded 54 application for Minahang Bayan as of Feb 28 in the Cordillera, with Benguet having 18 application, the highest among the provinces. The other applications are in Apayao (4), Abra (7), Baguio City (6), Mountain Province (5), Ifugao (2) and Kalinga (2).
Of the said applications, Genetiano said18 were endorsed to the central office for the initial review of their requirements as provided by existing laws. While five were forwarded for endorsement to the Office of the Secretary for clearance.
Six application, all from Baguio City, were returned by the central office for falling within declared tourism and watershed areas that are closed for mining.
Earlier, RDC-CAR passed a resolution urging DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu to simplify the requirements and process for the application of Minahang Bayan.
These came after pocket miners raised the tedious requirements and difficult process under the Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 that they have to hurdle before they are granted their livelihood. # nordis.net / with reports from PIA-CAR