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PIA Press Release

Barangay chief pleased with gov't programs in Diwalwal

by JMD Abangan

DIWATA, Compostela Valley (8 December) -- Mt. Diwata Punong Barangay Francisco Tito expressed gladness over efforts of national line agencies in addressing some socio-economic concerns in the gold-rush.

Barangay Mt. Diwata popularly known as Mt. Diwalwal used to be tagged as a "no man's land" where small mining groups were up against each other for precious gold ore that they could mine in the area.

More than 20 kilometers from the municipality of Monkayo in the province of Compostela Valley Province, Barangay Diwata sits at the 729 hectare gold-rush site where small miners are operating.

Small scale mining area is a parcel of the 8,100 hectares mining reservation area which embraces the provinces of Compostela Valley of the Davao Region and parts of the Caraga Region.

Development of the entire mining area has been placed under government supervision through Executive Order 217 issued on June 17, 2003. (Revised through E.O. 258 on December 13, 2003 reconstituting the National Task Force Diwalwal, designating the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as task force head).

The EO also mandates the creation of the National Task Force Diwalwal (NTFD)under which the Project Monitoring and Coordination Center (PMCC) is working to put on the ground various government interventions to address some of the pressing concerns in the area.

Government line agencies involved in the NTFD-PMCC are grouped into task forces on information, mining development, environment protection, internal security and political matters.

While the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) heads the NTFD at the national level, DENR regional director sits as chair of the PMCC at the regional level.

"Modayeg ko sa angay nga dayegon ug mosaway ko kung angay sawayon. Pero sa tinuod, daghan ng kaayohan nga nahatag sa gobyerno dinhi." (I would commend if worthy but would criticize if needed but in truth, the government has done much here.) he said in a press conference conducted during the media tour Thursday (December 06, 2007).

Tito noted a lot of improvement on peace and order in the area made possible through the close watch of the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The 28th IB has continuously conducted internal security and intelligence operations, enforcement of environmental and natural resources laws while also providing security and rescue assistance when needed.

The Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) which heads the Mining and Environment Task Group, has conducted underground verifications and assessment of mining operations, safety inspection and assessment of mine tunnels, investigation of landslides incidents and implemented the Naboc River Rehabilitation Project, among other concerns.

Working under the Mining and Environment Task Group, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), conducts monitoring of firms using cyanide and mercury and looks into the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management program of Barangay Diwata.

The Ecosystem Research and Development Operations of DENR and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Monkayo also work under the Mining and Environment Task Group. They are also implementing their respective projects on environmental protection in Mt. Diwata.

The largest convergence of national line agencies, the Socio-Economic Task Group brings together the departments of Social Welfare and Development, education, trade and industry, labor and employment, agriculture, health.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) are also part of the Socio-Economic Task Group.

Some of the socio-economic interventions in Barangay Diwata include housing project, day care services, counseling services, self-employment assistance, maternal health services, immunization, livelihood skills training particularly on jewelry-making cosmetology, product promotion and enhancement, enterprise development training among youth,

Socio-economic agencies also have conducted and implemented orientation on child labor laws, animal dispersal, seedling distribution, alternative learning system, accreditation and equivalency, workshop on bookkeeping, health survey, healthy lifestyle check seminar.

The Socio-Economic group also gives attention on the plight of the indigenous peoples with the NCIP at the helm, conducting technical review of the ancestral domain claims within the declared mineral reservation area.

NCIP also has conducted assemblies with IPs in the area to heed their concerns as stakeholders of mining development of Mt. Diwata.

NEDA of the same group has made it possible for Barangay Diwata to come up with the Mt. Diwata Barangay Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which mans the Political Task Group has been showing its presence in most occasions when Socio-Economic Group and Information Task Group are undertaking activities in Barangay Diwata.

It is also monitoring the political situation of the area.

With the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) as the lead agency, the Information Task Group recently conducted a media tour during in which significant accomplishments of PMCC member agencies were showcased.

Meanwhile, the DENR as PMCC chair is coordinating all projects and activities of the convergence body and regularly forwards reports to NTFD. (PIA XI) [top]

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