Adivay Celebration

Photo Caption: Small-scale miner in Itogon earns for a living .

File Photo by Primo Agatep/ABN

LA TRINIDAD, BenguetThousands of pocket miners in the Cordilleras are looking for a ray of hope
from their local officials to push for the lifting of the stoppage order in the operations of smallscale mining (SSM), and expedite the processing of Minahang Bayan (MB) applications in the forthcoming Environmental Forum, Mining Congress, one of the highlights of the province’ Adivay

For the record, its been almost five years (2018) since then Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the closure of all SSM in the Cordillera in the aftermath of the deadly landslide which killed at least 94 small miners in Itogon, at the height of Typhoon Ompong. In fact, in May 2022, newly elected Benguet Representative Eric Yap, vowed to work for the lifting of the stoppage order, and expressed his full support on the re-classification of the practice of pocket mining. To date, local pocket miners are still waiting for Representative Yap’s action together with his plan to invite the environment secretary to personally look into the plight of small-scale miners in the province.

Minahang Bayan

To date, only four minahang bayan applications have been approved by the Benguet Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB), dozens are still pending mostly due to lack of requirements and/ or areas being applied for are within a ‘watershed’ reservation lands. So far, there are 13 MB
applications have been approved across Cordillera Region, according to Mines and Geosciences BureauCordillera (MGB-CAR).

Pocket miners expressed optimism that their MB applications will be entertained especially with the recent endorsement of Norberto Cobaldes,as their representative in Benguet PMRB. Among the topics to be discussed on the forum are: mining laws; environmental and forest management; and best practices of sand and gravel extraction.

Primo Agatep/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon