In support of the undertaking to legalize small-scale mining, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office (RO) No. XIII attended a consultation meeting with barangay officials and small-scale miners on July 8, 2020 in Barangay Nabago, Surigao City.

The participation of MGB RO NO. XIII was in response to the request of Surigao City Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Engr. Elmer C. Tecson, for technical assistance in the conduct of a consultation meeting. The said request of Engr. Tecson was anchored on the legal basis of BarangayResolution No. 021 Series of 2020 of Barangay Nabago dated June 22, 2020 primarily passed to put an end to illegal small-scale mining in the mountainous area of Barangay Nabago.  Regional Director (RD) Glenn Marcelo C. Noble and his technical staff attended the meeting.   

To start the program, Punong Barangay Alberto D. Aba-a delivered the welcome remarks highlighting the current predicament of the residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He stated that some residents resorted to illegal small-scale mining activities within the mountainous area of Barangay Nabago.  Most of these miners used to be habal-habal (single motorcycle used to ferry passengers for a fee) operators but temporarily refrained from such work due to the restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Further, the Punong Barangay expressed his empathy towards the small-scale miners and stated that the activity was meant to educate them towards the legalization of their mining operations.  

After the welcome remarks, Engr. Tecson introduced the resource speakers.  It was then followed by a presentation on the summary of the legal and regulatory framework concerning small-scale mining operations by Engr. Noli A. Arreza, Public Relations Strategist of MGB RO No. XIII.  Briefly discussed were the procedural guidelines for the Minahang Bayan application, Small-scale Mining Contracts and Mineral Processing License embodied under DAO 2015-03.  A point emphasized by Engr. Arreza was the fact that small-scale mining is a livelihood project of the National Government.

To supplement the participants’ understanding of the legal and regulatory framework concerning small-scale mining operations, RD Noble explained that both the National Government and the local small-scale miners will benefit from the legalization of the local small-scale mining operations. He also stressed that MGB RO No. XIII will do its best to expedite and help the small-scale miners of Barangay Nabago to secure all the necessary documents towards the legalization of small-scale mining in the area provided that there is a proper Petition for Minahang Bayan.  Towards the end of his discussions, RD Noble took questions from the small-scale miners.

After all questions were sufficiently answered during the open forum, the activity ended with an assurance from RD Noble to the Punong Barangay and the small-scale miners that the doors of MGB RO No. XIII will always be open to attend to their concerns and assist them should the locals formally apply for Minahang Bayan.

By Marlowie S. Ageas
CENRO-Tubod Embedded Personnel