Bukidnon renews opposition to large-scale mining, exploration

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/8 May)– The Bukidnon provincial board renewed pronouncements it is opposed to large-scale mining, even mining explorations, with a resolution passed on May 4 for its “unwavering objection” amid the influx of new large-scale mining applications.

“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon remains steadfast in its statutory responsibility to be in the forefront of safeguarding the province’s environment and its natural resources,” the board declared in the resolution.

The board said they are passing the resolution “as a safeguard measure against surreptitious approval of any large-scale mining or exploration permit” to back its 2009 ordinance requiring mining applicants to secure the nod of the provincial board.

In the past sessions, provincial board members have also contemplated on passing an ordinance banning large-scale mining in the province even if the lawyer members of the board warned that it might be “ultra vires” or it violates a national law, particularly the 1995 Mining Act.

In its resolution authored by board member Nemesio Beltran Jr., the provincial board noted that there have been more applications for large-scale mining and mining exploration filed at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 10 recently.

The provincial board received a copy of the application for exploratory permit of Mining Philippines Resources, Inc. in Libona , Bukidnon for an area covering 2,241 hectares.

The cover letter of the application was addressed to Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. “for appropriate action in compliance to Section 5 of the DENR Memorandum Order No. 2004-09.”

Beltran told MindaNews copies of two other applications have been furnished to them in April.

The resolution cited the province’s earlier ordinance declaring Bukidnon as an “environmentally critical area” and that large-scale mining and mining explorations will undoubtedly cause hazard in the long run to the ecological balance, biodiversity, watershed areas, and environment.”

Board member Jay Albarece said while the legality of the provincial mining ban hangs, the provincial board can have a uniform decision if applications for mining and explorations come their way: we will not act on it or just turn down the application.

Copies of the resolution were sent to President Benigno Aquino III, the Environment Secretary Ramon Paje Jr., the DENR MGB-10, and Gov. Alex Calingasan. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)