The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XIII, in cooperation with the Chamber of Mines of Caraga Region Incorporated, Philippine Society of Mining Engineers Caraga Chapter, Community Relations, Education and Development Officers Organization-Caraga, Inc. and mining councils, held the first-ever Caraga Resilient Mining Week (CRMW) on July 24 to 28, 2023 at the Philippine Gateway Hotel in Surigao City.
With the theme Responsible Mining – Pathway to Community Resilience, the game changing event aimed to bring together stakeholders from Caraga Region to engage across a weeklong series of activities that are designed to foster stronger collaboration, ignite relevant conversations and chart a new path towards climate change and disaster resilience for the industry, the community, and the country as a whole – all anchored on the principles of responsible mining.
The Caraga Resilient Mining Week comprised the following four key activities:
Professional Development Sessions – lectures and talks that featured industry and subject matter experts that earned mining engineering participants Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points;
Community Resilience Forum – dialogues and workshops for personnel involved in disaster risk reduction and management focused on sharing best practices on disaster prevention, preparation, response and recovery;
Industry Stakeholders Meetings – roundtable discussions and top-level dialogue among industry stakeholders on relevant issues affecting mining companies and host communities; and
Public Engagement Programs – activities that were open to the general public, specifically the youth, and heightened awareness of the issues around climate change, disaster resilience, and sustainability.
On the first day of the event, the Holy Mass, CRMW Public Exhibit (Learnings from Odette), Small-Scale Mining Forum, Media Forum and Future Leaders “Ako ang Bida” Resilience Camp took place.
The Small-Scale Mining Forum aimed to provide a platform for the Small-Scale Mining Stakeholders to engage with the industry experts, an avenue to tackle relevant laws pertaining to Small-Scale Safety Rules and Regulations, and a systematic workshop to create a harmonious discussion about the current issues and concerns regarding small-scale mining.
At the program, the Welcome Remarks was delivered by MGB Regional Director Larry M. Heradez and an Inspirational Message was given by Mr. Oscar M. Pospia, Jr., Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Surigao del Norte, who represented Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers. On a special note, the Keynote Message was delivered by Department of Environment and Natural Resources Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems and Mining Concerns, Engr. Nonita S. Caguioa.
Moreover, the Declaration of People’s Small-Scale Mining Area or Minahang Bayan was awarded to Nagkahiusang Gagmayng Mag-uuma Association and a Mineral Processor’s License was granted to Del Pilar Small-Scale Mining Association Incorporated and VPO Mineral Resources Development Corporation.
The forum was also graced by Engr. Theodore Rommel E. Pestaño, the OIC-Chief of Mining Technology Division of MGB Central Office and Mr. Panfilo O. Dobluis, Vice President of National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners in the Philippines.
Also highlighted in the event was the induction of the Caraga Small-Scale Mining Organization Officers and their ceremonial recognition in the CMCRI through its President, Engr. Francisco J. Arañes, Jr. A presentation on the Proposed Revision of Republic Act No. 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 was also given and followed by the Focus Group Discussion and Open Forum.
In addition, the Future Leaders “Ako ang Bida” Resilience Camp set up by the Caraga Resilient Mining Week Organizing Committee ran from July 24 to 28, 2023. The camp served as a platform for the youth of Surigao del Norte to develop leadership skills, increase their knowledge of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and foster relationships that will drive the success of disaster resilience programs in the community.
On the same note, the Media Forum aimed to heighten public awareness of the Caraga Resilient Mining Week. It also aimed to foster the participation of and dialogue between the media and the mining stakeholders in fostering responsible mining and stronger collaboration towards community resilience.
The Philippine Information Agency Caraga Regional Office and Surigao City media practitioners participated in the activity. Key personnel from Caraga mining companies and various mining stakeholders were in attendance as well.
On the second day of the event, the Main Program, Philippine Mineral Reporting Code Forum and Future Leaders “Ako ang Bida” Resilience Camp were held.
At the Main Program, DENR Undersecretary for Legal and Administration, Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo Jr.; Climate Change Commissioner Albert P. Dela Cruz Sr.; and MGB Regional Director, Engr. Larry M. Heradez delivered key messages. DENR Assistant Secretary Nonita S. Caguioa also graced the event.
The Community Resilience Forum, Future Leaders “Ako ang Bida” Resilience Camp, Transformative Community Relations Forum and Professional Development Sessions were conducted on the third day of the event. In the same vein, the Community Resilience Forum, Future Leaders “Ako ang Bida” Resilience Camp, Resilient Mining Forum and Professional Development Sessions were held on the fourth day.
On the fifth day of the event, the Tree Planting Activity, Human Resource Summit, and Water Search and Rescue Exhibition and Training were carried out.
On a special note, the Ceremonial Awarding of People’s Small-Scale Mining Area/Minahang Bayan to Nagkahiusang Gagmayng Mag-uuma Association took place in the afternoon. DENR Undersecretary Joselin Marcus E. Fragada, Governor Robert Lyndon S. Barbers, Congressman Robert Ace S. Barbers, DENR Caraga Regional Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo, MGB Caraga Regional Director Larry M. Heradez Mayor Jovymarie C. Villazon and Vice Mayor Ryan B. Napuli graced the said awarding.
The event concluded with the Be the Bida sa Resilience Concert in the evening at the Provincial Convention Center.
With the weeklong series of activities, it is hoped that the Caraga minerals industry will lead in the promotion of responsible mining principles and practices that necessarily includes the protection and sustainable utilization of our natural resources while driving the resilience and socioeconomic development of communities.