BAGUIO CITY — Government agencies and mining companies in the Cordillera Region will have to step up to prove to the new administration that they are practicing responsible mining.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera with the different mining companies based in the province of Benguet expressed this during a media forum with the DENR and the Environmental Management Bureau last week.
MGB-CAR Regional Director Faye Apil said that the government agencies involved in the environment and mining in particular, will have to work with the different mining companies and other stakeholders to prove to President Rodrigo Duterte and newly appointed DENR Secretary Gina Lopez that indeed responsible mining is being practiced in the region.
“It is upon us from the mining industry to prove to that there is such thing as responsible mining,” Apil said as she answered queries on the initial thoughts of Lopez on mining.
An anti-mining advocate and chair of the ABS-CBN Foundation, Lopez has gone around the country campaigning against mining, particularly in Palawan and other eco-tourism sites, advocating the need to protect the country’s rich biodiversity.
On the first day as DENR Secretary, she spent much of her time talking about responsible mining in the country and her first order of business is to audit all existing mines in the country.
The Cordillera Region particularly Benguet is home to at least three large scale mining companies that have been providing source of income for thousands of families.
During the media forum, the big three mining companies namely Philex Mining Corporation, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation, and Benguet Corporation stressed they are practicing responsible mining and are in fact certified with the International Organization for Standardization 14001.
MGB-CAR Mine Safety and Environment Chief Felizardo Gacad explained that the DENR issued Department Administrative Order 2015-07 mandating mining companies to be certified with ISO 14001 or the standards which provides practical tools for companies and organizations of all kinds looking to manage their environmental responsibilities.
Gacad said that the three large scale mining companies are in full compliance with the ISO 140001.
Meanwhile, the mine company reps namely PMC legal officer Eduardo Aratas, BC lawyer Froilan Lawilao and LCMC’s Eddie Borromeo said they are not worried of the change of administration and assured that they are responsible miners.
The mining industry stakeholders and the DENR through the MGB hope that they would be given a chance to have an audience with new administration in order for them to show how they operate as responsible miners./JDP/RMC- PIA CAR