Seven (7) Mining Engineers of MGB IV CALABARZON participated in the 26th Annual Mining Symposium and Exhibits on September 5-8, 2019 held at the Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Mac Arthur Highway, Matina, Davao City. The symposium was organized by the Mindanao Association of Mining Engineers, Inc. (MAEM) together with MGB regional offices in Mindanao.

With the theme, “It takes a Mine to Build a Road,” the symposium emphasized the importance of the mining industry through the discussions on policy updates, local and national development, and its significant role particularly in the “Build-Build-Build” Program of the current administration. One of the most discoursed issues in the symposium was small-scale mining, where one of the resource speakers Atty. Deo G. Contreras said that the small-scale mining industry in the Philippines is actually larger than what is considered large scale. As of 2016, it comprises approximately 80% of the gold production in the country, where most of these mines are unregistered. With this, billions of pesos are lost for the government and environmental management is unaccounted for, leading to the rapid degradation of the environment. In conclusion, he implied that the regulation of small-scale mining must be reformed to be more doable and inclusive to the community and the miners themselves. This was backed up by the South Cotabato Provincial Environment Management Officer Mr. Seigfred Flaviano, who spoke about their “Minahang Bayanihan” program. Borne from legitimate consultation and active stakeholder’s participation, the program’s policies were formulated and implemented to facilitate inclusive growth and develop mining systems to protect life, health and the environment. Also, it established guidelines to ensure effective revenue generation. It aims to improve the miners’ quality of life rather than just the wealthy mining financiers.

Other than small-scale mining, other matters in the industry were also discussed such as the positive outcomes of the large-scale companies’ programs to their host and neighboring communities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with some of these companies implementing these on top of their obligatory Social Development and Management Programs (SDMP). Another was the clarification of the role of the Philippine Mining Development Corporation, which takes over the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation Area (DMRA) and other mineral reservation areas under the RA 7942, also known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. Another discussion was about the contribution of the youth to the industry, where students from the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) conducted Information and Education Campaigns (IEC) themselves to promote sustainable mining.

As for the regulatory side of the industry, the MGB Policy Updates were given by Engr. Larry M. Heradez, Chief of Mining Tenements Management Division of MGB Central Office.  In order to be more responsive, transparent and efficient on delivering service to the people, the following policies were recently issued:

Policy Issuance Title Date Released
MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 Guidelines in the Conduct of Apprehension, Seizure, Confiscation and Disposition of Illegally-Sourced Minerals/Mineral Products, Tools, Conveyances and Equipment Used May 25, 2018
MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02 Guidelines for Compliance Monitoring and Rating/Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts July 3, 2018
DENR Administrative Order 2018-19 Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic Mines August 17, 201
DENR Administrative Order 2018-20 Providing for a New Guidelines in the Approval of the Three-Year Development/Utilization Work Program (3D/UWP) August 17, 2019
DENR Administrative Order 2018-23 Rationalization of Lahar and Dredgin and Sand and Quarrying along Bucao, Sto. Tomas and Maloma River Systems in the Province of Zambales November 29, 2018
Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2019 (DPWH/DENR/DILG/DOTr) Guidelines on the Issuance of Clearance and/or Permit for Dredging within Waterways or Other Inland Bodies of Water March 14, 2019
MGB Memorandum Circular No 2019-001 Clarificatory Guidelines on the Industrial Sand and Gravel Permit April 10, 2019
MGB Memorandum Circular No 2019-002 Supplemental Guidelines to MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 April 10, 2019
MGB Memorandum Circular No 2019-004 Clarification on Quarry Resources Pursuant to Department Administrative Order No. 2010-21, the Consolidated Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 June 13, 2019
MGB Memorandum Circular No 2019-006 Clarificatory Guidelines on the Rules on Appeal August 7, 2019

Other activities such as a Sports Fest and Product Presentations in Day 1 and the Oath Taking of new mining engineers on Day 3 were conducted.

Overall, the event was a good means for the technical advancement of Filipino mining engineers and updated them on the latest policies and issues in the industry. Furthermore, the discussions and programs centered on Mindanao mining matters can be used to solve problems or improve the ones in Luzon, therefore including CALABARZON.

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by: Engr. Patrizia S. Benedicto                      |          25 September 2019