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 Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office IV-B recently created and convened its Multi-Stakeholder Team (MST) to undertake the review of performance of all operating mines within the MIMAROPA region.
Performing the function, pursuant to Memorandum Circular 2013-03 which provides for the creation of a Multi-Stakeholder Team to review the performance of existing mining operations issued by the MGB Director on November 29, 2013, the Regional Offices of the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) represented by Mr. Peter James Cortazar; Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through Regional Director Wilma Naviamos; Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with its line agency, Environmental Management Bureau, through Mr. Pancrasio Alcantara and Ms. Edna Quindoza, respectively, actively took part in the deliberation held on December 23, 2013 to evaluate and determine the performance of the four operating mines in Palawan as well as existing exploration permitees within the region.
The highlights of the activity include the recommendation for cancellation of four existing permits in violation of certain provisions of the Consolidated Department Administrative Order (CDAO) No. 2010-21 and Memorandum Order No. 2010-04 which should be strictly adhered to by permit holders which will be endorsed to the Director for review and further instructions.
Relative to the performance evaluation of existing mining operations, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Coral Bay Nickel Corp., Berong Nickel Corp. and Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., all four were found to have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Philippine Mining Act in view of their respective Safety, Environment and Social Development programs.
To further strengthen the conduct of evaluation, MST members provided suggestions to improve the review sheet through inclusion of other indicators within the range of their authorities, in particular the companies’ adherence to labor laws, rules and policies and poverty incidence in the mining communities.
Besides the attendees, other listed members of the MST include the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Science and Technology (DOST), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Council for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and concerned LGUs who can hopefully contribute and provide support in the undertaking in the furtherance of the government’s advocacy for responsible mining.
Regional Director for MIMAROPA Roland De Jesus was among the resource speakers during a consultative meeting between the DENR-IV-B and its attached agencies and the local governments of the Province of Occidental Mindoro held at the Sikatuna Beach Hotel in San Jose, Occidental, Mindoro on December 7, 2013.
The dialogue, initiated by the Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro, aimed at gaining relevant information on laws, rules and policies being implemented by DENR pertaining to its related programs being carried out locally for a more responsive governance.
For his part, RD De Jesus provided a presentation on the status of existing and proposed mining operations/projects within the region, including issues and concerns on small scale mining/sand and gravel operations in the province. He presented, as well, an accomplishment of the MGB-IV-B on the preparation and generation of 1:10,000 scale geohazard maps covering landslide and flood susceptible areas in every municipality following completion of the 1:50,000 scale maps.
Also emphasized in the presentation is the economic contribution of the region’s mining industry which speaks of billions of pesos separately derived from excise, income, real property and other taxes, royalty paid to Indigenous Peoples and Social Development Program funds. He also made mention of the mining companies’ efforts to immediately rehabilitate decommissioned and mined out areas which has now become a showcase in various mining conferences. All these are reflective of the MGB-MIMAROPA’s advocacy to uphold responsible mining.
Other resource speakers include Engr. Raul Arellano of NAMRIA who discussed on Municipal Waters Delineation and Characterization; Engr. Roman Legaspi, of the Land Management Service, DENR-IVB Regional Office, who presented the Status of Existing and Proposed Cadastral Survey Projects in the Province of Occidental Mindoro; RTD Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR-IV-B Regional Office who tackled Laws, Policies and Programs governing Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management and Projects; and Forester Ernesto E. Tañada , Chief, Forest Management Service –PENRO who reported the Status of NGP Implementation in the Province of Occidental Mindoro.
OIC-RED Oscar Dominguez, meanwhile, appealed to strengthen coordination and cooperation between the DENR and the stakeholders in the rightful execution of environmental laws and policies and had shown his appreciation to such initiative. Governor Gene Mendiola, Congresswoman Josephine Sato, Provincial Board Members and other LGU officials graced the occasion and actively participated in the discussion.
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.