Camarines Norte provincial officials hailed on Tuesday the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 5 (MGB-5) granting co-permittee status to the Mabilo Project joint venture (JV) partners.
The Provincial Board of Camarines Norte recently passed a resolution “expressing thanks and appreciation” to the DENR, particularly the MGB Panel of Arbitrators (POA), after resolving to declare Galeo Equipment Corporation as co-permittee and co-contractor to the Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation under MPSA No. MLC-MRD-459.
The decision recognized and gave importance to Provincial Ordinance No. 52-2017 enacted by the Provincial Board which states that in case there are JV partners in the mining projects within the province of Camarines Norte, the said JV partners should be deemed as co-permittees to ensure accountability in the implementation of mining laws and ensure responsible mining within the province.
The POA decision recognized the duties and responsibilities of local governments in the management and regulation of Minahang Bayan, small-scale and large-scale mining, and all other forms of mining and related activities within the various local government units (LGUs) in Camarines Norte, known for its mineral deposits of gold, silver, iron, zinc and bull quartz and its non-metallic minerals include sand, limestone, clay, and kaolin.
“This has energized the Province to craft more legislation and institute measures that will encourage the growth of responsible mining activities in Camarines Norte. Just as we currently have a Tourism Code, I would like to champion the creation of a Mining Code to serve as a framework for all mining-related activities,” Gerardo G. Quiñones, 2nd District Board Member and chairman of the Committee on Environment, said in a statement.
“We are delighted with the decision as Galeo has a good track record in partnership with the LGUs and other stakeholders in partnership with the LGUs and other stakeholders in Camarines Norte. The company even volunteered to rehabilitate the Venida Pit, in Barangay Napaod, Municipality of Labo, averting a destructive environmental incident,” Rey Kenneth N. Oning, ex-officio Board Member, Municipality of Labo Council Member and PCL President added.
“For the first time in history, we at the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Labo have also passed a resolution mirroring the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SB) resolution,” he noted.
Despite belonging to different political affiliations, the Provincial Board of Camarines Norte has come together to support responsible mining. They have set aside politics to unite in upholding a landmark piece of legislation intended to solidify the LGU partnership with the DENR thereby promoting balanced socioeconomic progress both in the local and national front.”
“We all understand that mining if done in a responsible manner, can bring about much-needed economic growth to our province. We look forward to working more closely with the national government to ensure we get the maximum benefits mining activities can offer while at the same time safeguarding the welfare of our people and preserving the environment,” said Joseph Stanley G. Alegre, 2nd District Board Member.
The SP Resolution and the SB Resolution are very timely given the intent of the DENR to open up the mining sector purposely to help the national government create more jobs and spur economic activity locally and at the national level.
“The SP and SB resolution is just the start as we are looking for more ways to strengthen the coordination and partnership between the local governments in the province and the DENR and other national government agencies towards the effective and responsible implementation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1996 and other related laws, Joseph V. Ascutia, Vice Governor of the Province of Camarines Norte said.