The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XIII, in cooperation with the Community Relations, Education & Development Officers Organization (CREDO Caraga), Inc. and the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers, held a press conference on June 14, 2018 at the Philippine Gateway Hotel in Surigao City.

The activity aimed to heighten public awareness of MGB’s environmental mandates and best practices of Caraga minerals industry in keeping with the 2018 Environment Month Celebration.  It also aimed to inform the public of the Mining Engineers’ Convention 2018 and its various activities in consonance with the PSEM and the mining stakeholders’ communal pursuit towards a revitalized minerals industry. The theme of the MinECon 2018 is Minerals-based Industrialization: Key to Philippine Economic Progress. In addition, the activity was aimed at strengthening the participation of and dialogue between the media and the mining stakeholders in achieving their common goals of ethical mining, ecological sustainability and authentic development.

MGB Caraga Regional Director Roger A. De Dios delivered the welcome remarks in appreciation of the participants’ support and in affirmation of the positive developments in the minerals industry.

The Philippine Information Agency Caraga Regional Office and reporters from Surigao del Norte media outfits and Northern Mindanao Broadcasting System participated in the press conference. Members of the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers, MinECon 2018 delegates as well as Resident Mine Managers, Community Relations Officers and a good number of personnel from Caraga mining companies attended the activity.

Engr. Armando L. Malicse, National President of the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers, graced the press conference.  Also present during the activity were Engr. Artemio E. Valeroso, PSEM-Caraga Chapter President and Resident Manager of Taganito Mining Corporation, and Engr. Felizardo A. Gacad, Jr., Chief of MGB Cordillera Administrative Region’s Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division. Engr. Gacad served as the PSEM National President from 2014 to 2016.

Ms. Christie A. Apale, MGB RXIII Senior Science Research Specialist, gave a comprehensive presentation on Environmental Protection Programs and Best Practices of Mining Companies in Caraga Region. Ms. Apale discussed the following topics which comprised her presentation ― The Importance of Mining, Legal Basis, Environmental Governance, MGB Mandates, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program/ Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program, Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund and Best Practices of Caraga mining companies.

After the presentation, reporters from Surigao del Norte media outfits and Northern Mindanao Broadcasting System asked questions and raised various issues during the Question and Answer Session facilitated by Ms. Susil D. Ragas, Provincial Coordinator of Surigao del Norte and Province of Dinagat Islands Information Centers, who acted as the moderator.

Engr. Malicse informed the media practitioners that the highlight of the Mining Engineers’ Convention 2018 is the presentation of technical papers that will enhance the knowledge of the mining engineers. He shared that the vision of the PSEM is to capacitate its members to become globally competent mining engineers and that the society’s mission is to create opportunities for the mining engineers to learn. On the subject of the event’s theme, he stated that mining engineers believe that the country will go into car making, airplane making and other enterprises if the minerals industry will be strengthened and venture into industrialization utilizing the mineral potentials because the Philippines has the minerals as ingredients needed to produce high caliber metals in the world. Similarly, he stated that mining engineers also believe that industrialization will fly high if this sector is tapped in the society spearheaded by the government.

In response to a query regarding the essence of minerals-based industrialization raised by one of the media practitioners, Engr. Gacad stated that mining is not competing with other industries like agriculture and tourism but it can thrive with them. He suggested that everyone can work together in a manner that does not destroy one another. He also said that mining engineers believe that industrialization must happen in the country because it is blessed with mineral reserves. “Let’s look at industrial efforts that will allow the Philippines to manage its own resources in a manner where industrialization happens within the country and allow this industry to grow together with agricultural and tourism development,” he imparted.

Towards the end of the activity, Engr. Gacad commended the efforts of Dir. De Dios for holding a quarterly press conference in Caraga Region. He recommended that this quarterly press conference be replicated in other MGB Regional Offices.

A brief interaction between the media practitioners and the mining stakeholders ensued after the press conference.