MGB-CO Technical Personnel participates in Palawan Stakeholders' Congress on Mining and the Environment

By: Philippine Resources May 27, 2024

Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Office (MGB-CO) technical personnel participated in the Palawan Stakeholders' Congress on Mining and the Environment (PSCME) held last April 24-26, 2024 in Puerto Princesa City.

With the theme: "Yours, Mine, Ours," the stakeholders’ congress was organized by the Provincial Government of Palawan. The Congress brought together representatives from national government agencies, local government units, the academes, and the private sectors.

Engr. Jennica Estepa-Lagan and Engr. Jaypee D. Juanerio of MGB-CO served as resource speakers on Compliance, Monitoring, and Enforcement.

Engr. Estepa-Lagan discussed the topic of Compliance and Monitoring, focusing on MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02. This Circular provides guidelines for compliance monitoring and rating/scorecard of mining permits/contracts.

It aims to create an efficient monitoring system using checklists and performance scorecards to verify mining contractors’ compliance. Contractors must achieve an overall performance rating of 80%, with no score below 75% in any category, to be compliant.

The monitoring system covers mining tenements such as Exploration Permits (EP), Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA). Regular field monitoring ensures adherence to work programs, environmental protection, and safety standards.

Meanwhile, the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) inspections and SHES (Safety, Health, Environment, and Social) audits further assess compliance with environmental and safety regulations. Engr. Estepa-Lagan emphasized that a robust compliance monitoring system promotes transparency, accountability, and sustainability in mining operations, contributing to the nation's economic well-being and poverty alleviation efforts.

Engr. Juanerio, on the other hand, presented on the topic of Enforcement, the definition of illegal mining, and the outline of the prohibited acts with penalties based on Republic Act Nos. 7942 and 7076. He explained the complaint handling process through DENR Action Center Hotline 8888, or the MGB Central Office, and the issuance of Cease-and-Desist Orders.

Engr. Juanerio also detailed MGB's authority to deputize personnel and emphasized collaboration with various agencies on enforcing environmental laws. He also highlighted strategies such as formalizing small-scale mining and using drones for surveillance. The way forward includes amending laws for stricter penalties, hiring more MGB-embedded personnel, and enhancing monitoring technology.

He stressed continuous legal improvements and agency collaboration to combat illegal mining effectively.

The said event also featured discussants which include Atty. Edmund Jones Gastanes of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Palawan, Mr. Felizardo B. Cayatoc, PENR Officer Palawan, and Ms. Glenda I. Manalo-Cadigal of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, who contributed insights on Compliance, Monitoring, and Enforcement.

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