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PIA Press Release

Mining council holds forum in Koronadal City

By MC Locsin

Koronadal City (28 July) -- The Regional Minerals Development Council (RMDC), a multi-agency body having the primary responsibility in advancing the government policy of responsible and sustainable development of the state's mineral resources, conducted a one-day forum last July 17 at the convention hall of Del Rio Splash Resort in Barangay Concepcion, Koronadal City.

More or less 200 representatives from private and government entities including the local government units joined in the biggest gathering of mining stakeholders so far assembled by the RMDC in Region XII.

South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes and Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Q. Miguel were one in saying that they are not opposed to mining per se. Governor Fuentes and Mayor Miguel gave the message and welcome remarks, respectively during the opening program.

Nevertheless, the lady governor expressed her apprehension on the adverse impact of mining on the environment, specifically the five river systems in South Cotabato should a mining company operate soon.

"Kapag pinayagan namin kayong magmina, ipakita lang ninyo sa amin na hindi titigil ang pagdaloy ng tubig sa mga ilog na 'yan dahil ten years from now kami ang mumurahin ng mga tao," Avance-Fuentes said. (If we allow you to mine, just show us that the rivers in there will not stop flowing because ten years from now we will be the ones to be blamed by the people.)

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. in his keynote address allayed the fear of the local leader on the impact of mining. Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Horacio C. Ramos read the speech on behalf of Secretary Atienza who did not make it to the forum in view of prior commitments in Manila.

"Our regulations mandate mining contractors to rehabilitate land disturbed by mining activities to a physically and chemically stable and self-sustaining ecosystem based on a final land use more productive or proximate the original land use as agreed with communities," Atienza stressed.

DENR Region XII Executive Director and RMDC Chair Jim O. Sampulna echoed the statement of his superior. "Mining projects or any project for that matter can be implemented only provided that the environmental integrity of the area will not be sacrificed. Matters like this are taken cared of during the conduct of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study of the project," Sampulna stressed.

Atienza, also the Minerals Development Council Chairman, stressed that the government is pursuing the revitalization of the local minerals industry not purely for the potential economic gains but with due and equal regard for the environment and the social development of communities.

Topics presented during the forum proper were: Executive Order No. 469 (Creating the Minerals Development Council and the Regional Minerals Development Councils) by Mr. Christopher Bandojo; the New Paradigm of Mining by Engr. Glen Marcelo Noble; the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) Process on Mining Projects by Mr. Eric Crespillo; The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Process on Mining by Dr. Rolando Cuaņo; and the SMI Experience in the Tampakan Project by Mr. Roy D. Antonio, SMI Corporate Affairs Manager.

Assistant Secretary Jeremias L. Dolino, Director Ramos, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region XII Director Constancio A. Paye, Jr. and the presenters composed the panel of speakers during two open fora moderated by Philippine Information Agency Regional Director Olivia T. Sudaria and South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Carlito Y. Uy, respectively. (DENR XII/PIA SarGen) [top]

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