Region IVB consists of the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan tagged as MIMAROPA.
Relative to mining activities, Palawan is host to four large-scale mining companies such as Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp, Coral Bay Nickel Corp, Berong Nickel Corp, and Citinickel Mines Development Corp wherein MGB IVB exercises full jurisdiction while providing necessary assistance to the rest of the provinces which cater to small-scale mining of gold, chromite, nickel, and copper, along with quarry operations.
The MIMAROPA mining companies gained distinction in the recently concluded 60th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference held at the CAP-Camp John Hay, Baguio City on November 19-22, 2013.
Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) garnered the 2013 Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Platinum Award, while Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC) championed the Safest Surface Operation and Safest Mining Operation awards for the year. For the Mine’s Best Personalities, meanwhile, Jeffrey Pizarro of RTNMC emerged as one of the two Best Safety Inspectors and Alison Galang of BNC was adjudged one of the two winners for the Best Miners award. For the Best Mining Forest Award, on the other hand, Intex Resources, Inc. emerged as 1st Runner-up in the Exploration category.
Besides these awardees, Ms. Jocelyn Asignacion, BNC’s COMREL Superintendent was lauded in her presentation of a paper entitled "Development of People Behind the Tangibles” which depicted the struggles and triumphs of Berong Nickel Corporation in uplifting the economic conditions of their mining community and their initiative to reform the values of these residents until eventually achieving social progress. She shared, as well, a presentation of the “Milestones on Community Development of Berong Nickel Corporation” during the 1st National Community Relations Officers’ Conference. Mr. Monn Santos, on the other hand, speaking of MacroAsia Corporation’s experience in their exploration activities, provided a paper entitled “A Case Study on Optimization of Nickel Exploration in Philippines” which probed on the review of the exploration data of a fully explored nickel laterite deposit whether specific assumptions on drill spacing in classifying mineral resources, which he discussed, has geostatistical basis.
In an effort to increase awareness and participation of employees in Gender and Development (GAD) programs and projects, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau IV-B initiated the conduct of a Seminar-Workshop on Gender Responsive Planning (GRP) as an offshoot to last year’s Gender Sensitivity Seminar-Workshop.
The GRP Seminar-Workshop held at the Citystate Hotel on November 11, 2013 was participated in by MGB IV-B employees, with Mr. Roy Stephen Tolentino, Economist and competent GAD trainor from the DENR Central Office Policy Studies Division as resource speaker. The activity aimed at providing understanding among the participants on gender analysis, information on its legal bases, and application of gender analysis tools to aid the crafting of the Regional Office’s GAD Work and Financial Plan.
The workshop focused primarily on group deliberations and harmonization of ideas wherein different groups were given a case study (Bulalacao Case) designed for familiarization and infusion of the concepts on gender analysis. One of the highlights of the workshop was the evaluation of MGB Memorandum Circular No. 200 33 which pertains to the Guidelines and Outline/Checklist for the Preparation of an Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment Report (EGGAR) which is considered a non-gender policy document. The key strategy and approach to this activity was to make the necessary revisions/amendments in the procedural guidelines through application of the recently learned ideas on gender analysis tools to attune the document as a gender-responsive measure.
Another significant component of the workshop was the rating of the Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation score sheet which consists of assessment questionnaires intended to evaluate the magnitude and identify the strengths and developmental areas of gender mainstreaming efforts being pursued by the Regional Office.
RD Roland De Jesus, in his message, stated that the Office recognizes the strengths and weaknesses it has incurred on previous year’s GAD-related activities because of information gaps or insufficient knowledge on GAD priority issues. So that in the course of the day’s discussion, he assured, the office will be determined to strengthen its efforts to promote and support the GAD in the coming years.
As a result of this workshop, it is hoped that the Office will conceptualize and design gender-responsive projects and adoption of Gender Action Plan for future implementation and as a show of commitment of scaling-up its mandate as a GAD-responsive organization.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA Region spearheaded the conduct of the regional consultation for small scale mining contingent to the proposed amendments to DAO 34 or the rules and regulations implementing Republic Act 7076 or the Philippine Small Scale Mining Act.
Participated in by Provincial and City Mining Regulatory Boards of the MIMAROPA region, provincial local government units and permit holders, the consultation was organized by the MGB to provide a venue for updating, information dissemination and threshing out of relevant issues and concerns involving small scale mining operations in the region.
Representing MGB Director Leo L. Jasareno, OIC-Asst. Director Elmer Billedo provided an overview of the provisions of Executive Order No. 79 which aims to streamline the implementation of pertinent laws governing both large and small scale mining and other reforms to more effectively regulate operations of the same. Mining Technology Division Chief Steve Martin, meanwhile, presented the highlights of the proposed amendments to the IRR and recent developments pertinent to its impending approval. Among the highlights that he cited are the reconstitution and strengthening of Provincial and City Mining Regulatory Boards and identification of Minahang Bayan sites to be designated as small scale mining areas to protect local ecosystem and tourism. The use of sophisticated/heavy equipments and mercury will also be prohibited. Regular conduct of workshops and trainings for stakeholders shall be mandatory to equip stakeholders of proper information and updates on specific laws.
Responding to these proposed reforms, RD Roland De Jesus appealed to the participants for their full support and cooperation that is very significant in realizing these changes. He emphasized on the strong will power and determination as a means to gain full acceptance, support and recognition from the citizenry of a mining industry that nurtures and uplifts the economic conditions of the communities and advancing real progress within our localities and the whole nation.
Speaking in behalf of DENR-MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Edgardo Galeon, RTD for Research Edgardo Vendiola imparted the message of support from the RED on all endeavors of the MGB-MIMAROPA through the able leadership of RD De Jesus. The RED, according to RTD Vendiola, is much pleased of the dedication shown by the Bureau in ensuring the compliance of mine operators to DENR laws and standards, thereby strictly promoting protection, preservation and enhancement of the mining environments. The RED also called for cooperation among stakeholders of doing things responsibly and contribute to jobs and income generation within mine communities.
As additional tool and information to guide LGUs and permittees, MGB-MIMAROPA Mineral Lands Survey Section head, Engr. Alvin Requemin discussed the standards for undertaking the conduct of all lands survey in the country, more specifically the use of Philippine Reference System of 1992.
The second part of the summit was devoted to the presentation of individual accomplishment reports done by all P/CMRBs and an open forum to address all of their concerns eagerly responded to by RD De Jesus. Discussions centered on the due process of apprehending and filing of appropriate cases against violators which is reflective of their vigilance to champion the needed reforms in effectively implementing the Small Scale Mining Act.
The summit was conducted as part of the commitments of MGB-MIMAROPA to further its mandates and advocacy towards responsible mining.
In preparation for the imminent implementation of the Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS), the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office IV-B actively took part in two separate orientation and seminar workshops on the new government performance rating system.
Initially, an Orientation-Workshop was organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to educate all DENR attached agencies and bureaus on the rationale, objectives and other essential information on the SPMS which was held on September 26-28, 2013 at the Fontana Leisure Parks in Clarkfield,
Pampanga. The activity, attended by Regional Directors, Chief Administrative Officers, HRMOs and Planning Officers, was a venue for presentation of the history of Government Performance Rating, objectives of the SPMS and the SPMS forms – the Office, Divisional, Sectional and Individual Performance and Commitment Review (OPCR, DPCR, SPCR, IPCR). Its culmination was the presentation of the workshop outputs, specifically the accomplished forms for every participating organizations critiqued by Civil Service Commission Director Victoria Isber.
To more extensively discuss and polish all regional offices OPCR in which the DPCR, SPCR and IPCR will be drawn from, the MGB Central Office, through the Planning and Policy Division, called for a workshop to synchronize all major final outputs (MFOs) from the respective Work and Financial Plans. Participants in this 5-day activity held in Allure Hotel in Mandaue City were the Regional Directors, Planning Officers, Budget Officers and HRMOs. This was done, as well, to prepare for the required submission of the final MGB OPCRs to the DENR set on October 15, 2013.
To eventually comply with the required preparatory activities, the orientation was cascaded to all personnel of the MGB-MIMAROPA on October 14, 2013 thereby providing a venue for all concerned to be knowledgeable of and to make clarifications on the SPMS process.
The system, which is expected to link individual accomplishments to the commitments of every government agency as a contributing factor to the achievement of the Philippine Development Plan for 2010 to 2016 of the present dispensation will be implemented in 2014 superseding the existing Performance Evaluation System.
Southern Palawan has been identified as one of the two pilot areas in the implementation of wealth accounting, along with Laguna Lake basin, under the Wealth Accounting and Valuation Ecosystems Global Partnership Program (WAVES GPP).
WAVES is being implemented with the end vision of a sustainable development worldwide through the application of wealth accounting that focuses on integrating natural capital accounting in conventional development planning policy analysis. This initiative is a significant step that the country may accomplish after it failed during earlier attempts due to lack of a clear policy link, disagreed methodology, lack of global leadership and limited capacity and resources.
The program is expected to largely benefit Southern Palawan, which is host to four large-scale nickel mine operations, in effect to a more effective policy-making and to arrive at better decisions as the province is confronted with the challenge of the locality’s myriad of competing interests, opportunities and threats which provide complications to effectively balance social, economic and ecological priorities.
Supportive of such initiative, RD Roland De Jesus enthusiastically participated in the two-day Launch Workshop for Ecosystem Account for Southern Palawan on
September 3 and 4, 2013 at the BSA Twin Towers in Ortigas, which formally provided the orientation on the Palawan case study as regards ecosystem accounts, review of policy questions to serve as guide in the study and development, scrutiny on the applicability of the tools, and commitment of stakeholders in pursuit of the undertaking.
MGB IV-B’s Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division (MSESDD) OIC, Engr. Percival Ladub, was a resource person during Seminar-Workshop on Enhancement of Technical Skills on Mining Law Enforcement and Orientation on the New Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases on July 30-31, 2013, at the Sanctuary Garden in Magdiwang, Romblon, and presented the highlights of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and DAO 2008-22 (DENRO for Mines) and the procedures on the apprehension, documentation, investigation, and report writing.
The seminar, which was attended to by LGUs, PNP and AFP personnel, aimed at improving the technical capabilities of participants for the effective discharge of their the duties and functions as deputized Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Mines. It served, as well, as an orientation on the new Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases and provided the forum to examine various scenarios related to illegal small-scale mining and other issues and concerns regarding apprehension of illegal small-scale miners and confiscation of equipments.
Highlighting the workshop is a group dynamics depicting different scenarios on illegal small-scale miningoperations - from apprehension of illegal miners up to the filing of case against the apprehended individuals. The groups were judged based on their acting, originality and how they followed protocol.
Also discussed were topics on Legal Considerations in Making Apprehensions, and the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases presented by Atty. Philip John S. Buscaino and Atty. Gil P. Viloria, Jr., respectively.
The seminar was organized by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, in collaboration with MGB IV-B, Public Attorney’s Office and Ban Toxics – NGO with the generous support from the Provincial Government of Romblon.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region IV-B, through its partner-mining companies in the region, has successfully responded to the call of President Benigno S. Aquino III to grow 1.5 billion trees nationwide within 2011 to 2016 under the National Greening Program being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
As of the 2nd quarter of this year, the region has recorded a consolidated accomplishment of 1136.59 hectares since its implementation mid of 2011. Participating mining companies are Coral Bay Nickel Corporation and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation in Batarraza; Berong Nickel Corporation in Quezon; Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation’s Toronto and Pulot Operations in Narra and Sofronio Espanola, all in the Province of Palawan, and Intex Resources Philippines, Inc. in Victoria, Occidental Mindoro.
This accomplishment includes seedlings donations of the mentioned companies to various schools, civic organizations, NGOs, POs and other community organizations which is also credited in the program.
The NGP, which was established by virtue of Executive Order No. 26, seeks to harmonize all tree-planting activities in the country and promotes the use of quality planting materials of indigenous, native and endemic forest tree species for high survival and productivity.
Through this flagship project, the national government envisions the attainment of sustainable human development, and economic and ecological security which is among the top priorities of the present dispensation.