The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XIII held a two-day Orientation Workshop on Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02 re: Guidelines for Compliance Monitoring and Rating/Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts on September 4-5, 2018 at Parkway Hotel in Surigao City.

The activity was conducted to ensure that mining companies will have a clear understanding of the new procedures for monitoring of tenements, safety and health, environmental management, and social development (TSHES) compliance requirements using the revised monitoring checklist and accomplishing the scorecard to determine their level of compliance. It was participated by 135 officers and staff of 29 Caraga mining companies.

MGB Caraga Regional Director Roger A. De Dios delivered the welcome remarks in which he gave the participants hints that these checklists and scorecards are more of a quantitative evaluation of the companies’ performances and are much easier to comply. Dir. De Dios emphasized that a 75% rating or higher must be attained by the company for each of the four aspects of the TSHES. He highlighted the importance of the mining industry for everyone’s sustenance and he assured every participating mining company that MGB will always be around to help them comply with all the standards.

Engr. Francis Glenn N. Suante, OIC-Chief of MGB RXIII Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division (MSESDD), gave a short presentation on the flow of the two-day activity and its objectives. With his concise overview on MGB MC No. 2018-02, the participants were well-informed that this memorandum circular was approved on July 3, 2018 after a series of thorough discussions and workshops. Engr. Suante stated that the memorandum was issued for the purpose of providing an efficient and effective standard monitoring and performance rating systems that shall ascertain the compliance and determine the compliance level of contractors/permittees/permit holders. He added that these checklists and scorecards will serve as tools in determining compliant and non-compliant mining contractors/permittees/permit holders. Also, he initially imparted how the company’s rating will be computed which is by getting the average of the percentages of T (Tenement) and SHES (Safety and Health, Environment Management and Social Development Management). As a final point, Engr. Suante stressed that the correct monitoring checklist and scorecard can only be achieved after the correct approval of plans.

Engr. Brenice Ann G. Castillo, Engineer IV from the Mine Management Division (MMD) of MGB RXIII, briefly discussed the Guide for the Conduct of Monitoring of Mining Permits/Contracts and Accomplishing the Monitoring Checklist (Annex 1). Following Annex 1 is a more detailed discussion on Tenement Monitoring Checklists for Exploration (Annex 1A) and Development/Operating (Annex 1B). Discussions on the Guide in Accomplishing the Scorecard for Tenements (Exploration and Development/Operating) and SHES Compliances (Annex 2) continued in the afternoon. Lastly, Tenement Compliance Scorecards for Exploration (Annex 2A) and Development/Operating (Annex 2B) were tackled by Engr. Castillo. During her talk, Engr. Castillo discussed the mandatory tenement compliance requirements; the company’s submission of reports; fiscal obligations; employment equity; and others which include the company’s facilities, human resources, technical/key persons, equipment, mine plan/layout showing the location and extent of development/extraction activities, survey plan of the contract/mining area, financial statement/report, and general information sheet. Regarding the tenement scorecard, she carefully presented the scoring for every criterion and elaborated the remarks stated in the scorecard. Other findings and recommendations should be discussed thoroughly between the evaluator and the company representatives and meet halfway for the inspection is not a fault-finding inspection.

Furthermore, Engr. Castillo discussed DENR Administrative Order 2018-19 re: Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic Mines and DENR Administrative Order 2018-20 re: Providing for a New Guidelines in the Evaluation and Approval of the Three-Year Development/Utilization Work Program. She also tackled Regional Memoranda Nos. 2018-01, 2018-03, 2018-04, and 2018-07.  After her in-depth discussion, an open forum ensued to answer the queries raised by the participants.

Before the next presentation, a workshop on the proper classification of various programs/projects/activities (P/P/As) in the Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (AEPEP) and in the Annual Social Development and Management Program (ASDMP) was facilitated by For. Enjie P. Cañete.  The participants were clustered into five groups, namely Claver, SDN, SDS, ADN and ADS, and PDI.  The groups were given assignments to work on on Day 1 which will be presented by the end of the activity on Day 2.

Engr. Pio Zaldy M. Merano, MGB RXIII Mine Safety and Health Section Chief, gave a lively discourse on Safety and Health Monitoring Checklist (Annex 1C) and Safety and Health Compliance Scorecard (Annex 2C). Engr. Merano talked at length about the eight mandatory safety and health compliance requirements, their compliance indicators, and their corresponding penalties for non-compliance. The criteria for getting the safety and health performance rating of the company are: (a) Implementation of Annual Safety and Health Program (50%); (b) Environmental Risk Management (20%); (c) Safety and Health Program Budget Utilization (10%); (d) Reportorial Requirements and Permit Compliances (10%); and (e) Accident Statistics (10%). After Engr. Merano’s discussion, an open forum took place regarding the safety checklist.

Mr. Elecito E. Escuyos, Social Development Section Chief, presented the Social Development and Management Program.  He enumerated the necessary documents to be prepared before the actual validation of the MGB RXIII technical staff to guarantee the smooth flow of the monitoring. He then introduced the Social Development Monitoring Checklists for Exploration (Annex 1E-1) and for Development/Operating (Annex 1E-2). Mr. Escuyos discussed the five major P/P/As in an ASDMP matrix. Lastly, he emphasized that there is no longer a “Socio-cultural Component,” but instead this will be placed under “Others”. Towards the end of Day 1, the participants were given a chance to ask regarding the monitoring checklist presented by the Social Development Section Chief.

For the second day, Engr. John Darwin Amag of Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Mr. Romulo Punzalan of Claver Mineral Development Corporation, and Mr. Roel Paniza of Greenstone Resources Corporation started the program with an overall recapitulation of the discussed topics during the previous day.

Immediately after the said recap was the continuation of detailed discussion on the Social Development’s Compliance Scorecards for Exploration (Annex 2E-1) and Development/Operating (Annex 2E-2) by Mr. Elecito E. Escuyos.  For this topic, he pointed out the mandatory social development compliance requirements and its legal basis for the company to comply and submit to the MGB RXIII Office within the prescribed period. The aforementioned requirements have corresponding penalties for late submission or non-compliance. Thus, for the company’s performance rating, he discussed the parameters/criteria with equivalent percent distribution both for exploration and development/operating companies. Each parameter/criterion has a set of compliance indicators which when added will amount to the total performance rating of the company.

Following his discussion was a presentation by Ms. Christie A. Apale, Environment Section Chief of MGB RXIII. She briefly discussed the comparison between the old and new checklists.  The old conduct of ISHES monitoring wherein the previous ISHES monitoring does not monitor the AEPEP implementation. Only the plan, budget, date of approval and percent accomplishment were noted then because the MMT is tasked to do the monitoring of the implementation. At present, there is a new set of guidelines and checklist in which the AEPEP implementation in terms of financial and physical accomplishment will be monitored as well during the conduct of ISHES monitoring.

Similarly, she also tackled the Environmental Management Monitoring Checklists for Exploration (Annex 1D-1) and Development/Operating (Annex 1D-2) and the Environmental Management Compliance Scorecards for Exploration (Annex 2D-1) and Development/Operating (Annex 2D-2). Ms. Apale also stressed that the scoring of each Programs/Projects/Activities (PPAs) has become quantitative, thus the rating should be 80% and above to be deemed as compliant in each component. She also highlighted that the checklist will be signed by the auditors and the auditee to conform to all the findings and observations after every Exit Conference during the ISHES monitoring.

Same with the other component, she pointed out the mandatory compliance requirements and its legal basis for the company to comply and submit to the MGB RXIII Office within the prescribed period. The aforementioned requirements have corresponding penalties for late submission or non-compliance. She stressed that lacking mandatory requirements will automatically result in non-compliance of the company but the monitoring procedure will still proceed. Thus, for the company’s performance rating, she discussed the parameters/criteria with equivalent percent distribution both for exploration and development/operating companies. Each parameter/criterion has a set of compliance indicators which when added will amount to the total performance rating of the company.

One of the parameters/criteria is the National Greening Program which is not applicable to the Exploration companies. For. Enjie P. Cañete discussed that all the donated seedlings should be accounted to it, provided that an electronic shape file will be submitted to the Bureau to be overlain on the map as well as the MOO since exploration has a limited disturbed area and in every tenement has its delineated buffer zones and the primary purpose of National Greening Program is to provide livelihood to the communities by planting commodities like coffee, cacao, etc.  To properly address this, the DENR is still in the process of drafting a final resolution as to this issue.  Following the discussion was an open forum participated by the companies.

In the afternoon, the groups presented their respective workshop outputs given to them on Day 1. First up, the activity on AEPEP was tackled. Engr. Robert Francisco of Taganito Mining Corporation presented the land resources output. Some of the PPAs identified were progressive rehabilitation, reshaping and backfilling. For the water resources, Mr. Jameson Bandala of Hinatuan Mining Corporation presented the identified PPAs such as desiltation of settling ponds/sumps/catch basins, water sampling and quality monitoring, maintenance of drainage and sewage treatment. Engr. Raian E. Jamero of Carrascal Nickel Corporation presented the PPAs identified for air quality such as dust suppression and street sweeping. For noise and vibration, Mr. Jjam S. Cutillas of Libjo Mining Corporation presented the identified PPAs such as buffer zone establishment and installation of barometer. The PPAs identified for conservation values which included Adopt-a-Creek and River Program, Biodiversity Assessment, Terrestrial Assessment, causeway-line maintenance, maintenance of marine sanctuary, corals assessment and adopt-a-school program was presented by Len Marc P. Taguid from Agata Mining Ventures, Inc. The unit of measurement to be used were also discussed in monitoring the accomplishment of each PPA presented. According to Regional Director Roger A. De Dios, the purpose of the said workshop is to standardize the presentation of the PPAs so it would be easy to understand during the MRFC meetings and monitoring as well.

The last presentations revolved around the subcomponents of Social Development and Management Program by the mining companies in support of the host and neighboring communities affected by their operations. Mr. Alex Arabis of Platinum Group Metals Corporation presented the output of Claver group on “Access to Education and Educational Support Program.” Ms. Nancy R. Baldoza of Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation represented the SDS group in presenting their output on “Access to Health and Services, Health Facilities and Professionals.” For “Enterprise Development and Networking,” Mr. Roel T. Paniza of Greenstone Resources Corporation shared the output of the SDN group. Ms. Jinky Jovita of SR Metals Inc. represented the ADN and ADS group for “Assistance to Infrastructure Development and Support Services.” For the PDI group, Ms. Rudilyn H. Velasco of Cagdianao Mining Corporation presented the assigned topics to them which were “Others” under DHNC, “IEC” and “Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences.”

MGB RXIII holds Orientation Workshop on Guidelines for Compliance Monitoring and Rating/Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts - Group Picture
The fruitful two-day workshop ended with a motivating message from Dir. De Dios in which he encouraged the mining companies to be diligent and compliant in implementing their programs/projects/activities.