Photo: Benguet Vice Governor Ericson Felipe on Tuesday said they are appealing to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to streamline the permitting process for 'Minahang Bayan' that delays the declaration of an area for community mining. The declaration is a requirement before mining associations can be issued a mining contract. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)
The provincial government is hopeful that small-scale mining activities in the province would be allowed again pending the approval of Minahang Bayan applications.
"Our constituents are living through mining, many relying on it for survival which makes it impossible to stop them from operating while the Minahang Bayan applications are pending and being processed," Vice Governor Ericson Felipe said in an interview on Tuesday.
Felipe stressed the dilemma of the mining associations in obtaining a Minahang Bayan declaration, which he said is tedious and complicated.
He added that the provincial government, in several resolutions, already requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to streamline the requirements that was identified as the reason for the delay in obtaining a Minahang Bayan declaration.
Following the issuance of the declaration, a small-scale mining contract that will allow the association to afford the Minahang Bayan the authority to utilize the same to extract minerals is also required.
In 2018, the DENR issued a cease and desist order (CDO) for all small-scale mining operations in Benguet and the whole of Cordillera following the massive landslide in a mining community in the town of Itogon that claimed the lives of about a hundred persons.
"Our people engaged in small-scale mining are in a sad plight with their operation being simply tolerated because of the absence of legal status in operation and have to survive thru mining as a livelihood. We hope that the DENR will reconsider soon," he added.
Felipe said aside from agriculture, small-scale mining is also a top source of income and job generator in Benguet.
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency