The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office (RO) No. XIII capacitated the Department Managers and Environmental Management System Auditors of Philsaga Mining Corporation (PMC) and Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corporation (MMPRC) with its technical assistance through the Seminar-Workshop on Mining Laws and Policies on June 18-19, 2020 at the PMC Training Room in Rosario, Agusan del Sur.

Following the minimum health protocol during this time of pandemic, a technical team facilitated the two-day seminar-workshop in response to the invitation of PMC. The team was composed of seven (7) MGB RO No. XIII personnel headed by Regional Director Glenn Marcelo C. Noble. The seminar-workshop is one of PMC’s activities in the approved Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program for CY 2020, specifically on training and awareness of employees on mining and environmental laws and policies.

The MGB team was welcomed by Engr. Ferdinand A. Cortes, PMC Resident Manager and MMPRC General Manager. During the short program, he expressed his gratitude to RD Noble for accommodating their request and urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity that MGB is around to answer queries and concerns regarding the topics presented and discussed.

Meanwhile, RD Noble imparted that it is the first time that MGB technical personnel have facilitated such an activity in a particular mining company in the region. “I do not expect you to be experts in mining laws and policies but at least you are aware of the mandates of the agency regulating your company,” he challenged the participants.

Twenty-three (23) Department Managers and twenty-seven (27) Environmental Management System Auditors of PMC and MMPRC participated in the said activity. In compliance with the social distancing protocols/guidelines of the Department of Health, the participants were divided into two groups and discussions were simultaneously conducted by the Resource Speakers. Engr. Brenice Ann M. Gendeve-Castillo, Chief of the Monitoring and Technical Services Section of the Mine Management Division, discussed the Mining Laws and Recent Policy Updates while Engr. Francis Glenn N. Suante, Officer-In-Charge of the Mine Safety, Environment, and Social Development Division, provided the details and actual implementation of the Safety and Health, Environmental Management, and Social Development aspects of the mining operations. In addition, Atty. Jeffrey P. Galido, Attorney III, focused his discussion on Search and Seizure Proceedings, Rules on Pleading before the Panel of Arbitrators, Appeal to Mines Adjudication Board, and Ordinary Procedures on Appeal. Prior to discussion proper, participants were required to answer the pre-assessment questionnaire in order to determine their level of awareness and understanding of mining laws and policies.

Considering that not all the participants know the technicalities of mining, Engr. Gendeve-Castillo also presented the Introduction to Mining (Mining 101), Status of Mining and Minerals Industry in the Philippines, and Introduction to Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order No. 2010-21. Further, as additional inputs for the technical personnel of PMC and MMPRC particularly those who are in charge of the operations, Engr. Gendeve-Castillo provided the Recent Mining Laws and Policies in detail; emphasized the significance of their compliances with the Tenement Checklist, Scorecards, and the Common Lapses and the impacts on their operations; and presented the overview of the Safety and Health, Environment, and Social Development (SHES) Provision at each stage of the Mining Operation. Similarly, Engr. Suante elaborated the implementation of the SHES aspect of the mining operation particularly the implementation of PMC and MMPRC. He also shared several best practices of the SHES implementation of the other mining contractors in Caraga Region. In between breaks, RD Noble shared insights and inputs on the mining industry and the MGB mandates.

At the end of the activity, Engr. Gendeve-Castillo challenged the participants’ learning with the analysis of the prepared five (5) caselettes based on the topics discussed and presented. The participants were divided into five groups wherein each group presented its answers with corresponding justifications. Based on their presentations, the participants were able to grasp the topics discussed. Lastly, a post assessment was administered. Results of the pre and post assessments were compared with satisfactory outcomes.

By Glynis Irene S. Buot of Mine Management Division-Monitoring and Technical Services Section