BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) is proposing to the local government of Baguio to work out the dis-establishment of mineral reservations in the city if local officials and residents want a total ban on mining in the different parts of the city.
Engr. Fay W. Apil, MGB-CAR regional director, informed members of the City Council that there are two mineral reservations in the city, particularly those covered by Proclamation No. 414 that covers more than 380 hectares in barangays Loakan Apugan, Atok Trail and Kias and Proclamation No. 572 covering some 159 hectares within the Mines View area, that is why there are applications being filed by companies interested to develop, explore and utilize the city’s rich mineral resources.
“If the present batch of local officials do not want mining and other related activities, then the best way for the city is to request and work out the dis-establishment of the mineral reservations and facilitate the award of the available lots to qualified home lot applicants once it will be included in the townsite reservation of the city,” Apil stressed.
Proclamation No. 414 and Proclamation No. 572 were both issued by former President Carlos Garcia in 1957 and 1959, respectively, which included the various parts of the city as mineral reservations and excluded the said areas from the townsite reservation of the city pursuant to its Charter.
Apil noted that applicants for the titling of lots within the areas covered by the two proclamations are being requested by the City Assessor’s Office to secure a certification from the MGB-CAR that the areas being applied for are outside the coverage of the declared mineral reservations in the city.
According to her, there was an attempt by the previous members of the local legislative body to request the dis-establishment of the declared mineral reservations from the former administration but nothing happened there no formal action from the Palace on the request.
Ordinance No. 18, series of 2016 or the city’s Environment Code recognizes the presence of mineral reservations in the city pursuant to the existing proclamations and mining activities are recognized within the said reservations.
The MGB-CAR official underscored the possible modes of dis-establishing the declared mineral reservations in the city is either through the issuance of a proclamation that will repeal the two Proclamations or by an act of Congress which will surely take time to happen depending on the recommendations of concerned government agencies.
Apil noted the local government must to be consistent in the implementation of existing laws, rules and regulations on mining wherein barangay and city officials must help the agency in curbing illegal small-scale mining activities within the declared mineral reservations to preserve and protect the state of the environment and sustain the status of the lands in the said areas. /By Dexter A. See#