Thousands pocket miners endorse Cobaldez in Benguet’s Mining Board

The Benguet Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) has been encouraged to fast-track issuance of Minahang Bayan and return expired Mineral Production Sharing Agreement’s (MPSA) from big mining companies to ancestral owners to concerned local government units (LGU’s) . This developed after hundreds of pocket miners including operators of small scale mining operations
officially endorsed Norberto Cobaldez to represent them in the PMRB.

Cobaldez is the current president of Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Mining Inc. (BFSSM), replacing the Engr. Lomino Kaniteng, who passed away in 2022. He is retired government employee of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). A former assistant regional director for technical operations of the agency. Given the trust and confidence , Cobaldez , who still
await the approval of DENR before officially perform his duties as member of PMRB ,said “ another load to carry…another obstacle to hurdle for the betterment of SSM.”

BFSSM which has been the voice of of estimated 15k pocket miners representing 55 ssm associations across Benguet actively been fighting for the equal right for ssm. Through text message, Cobaldez listed top issues that PMRB has to address include immediate issuance of IDs for registered SSM members; immediate issuance of certificates to SSM associations which are registered with PMRB. And provide programs and projects that will benefit local pocket miners.

For the past 11 months as president of BFSSM president, his federation has accomplished the following the successful conduct of the national and provincial SSM summit ; and reunification of
some “breakaway” members of BFSSM. BFSSM, National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners and BAN
Toxics together advocate transform miners to mercuryfree technology to protect both human health and the environment, improve working conditions, and assert occupational safety and health
for miners, among others. Moreover, fought for the amendment of the People’s Mining Law, to paved the way for SSM acquire modern technology and equipments in their operations.

Primo Agatep/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon