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.
For an enhanced documentation system for monitoring, validation and assessments being carried out by its technical divisions, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA embarked on a GeoTagging Workshop conducted on March 24, 2014 at the MGB IV-B Conference Room.
RD Roland De Jesus views this as a tool to improve the existing monitoring system and generate real time field findings as supported by geographical identification meta data to photos and videos obtained during MMT and SHES monitoring as well as in the lands survey, geohazard assessment and mapping activities and validation of NGP accomplishments using android phones.
Resource Person Allen Ablang of the Forest Management Sector of DENR-MIMAROPA provided a quick coaching, from downloading to actual application use, which was easily grasped by technical personnel attendees from the Mine Environment and Safety; Mine Management; and Geosciences Divisions of the Office.
This initiative also serves as MGB-MIMAROPA’s response to the call of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to particularly fast track and make more efficient the conduct of NGP validation using the technology.
Aimed as a convergence of MGB geologists and chemists, the 2014 MGB Geosciences Workshop was held in Tagbilaran, Bohol on February 3 -7, 2014 as a venue for the presentation and review of outputs of the National Geohazard Assessment and Mapping Program and other geo-science related activities of the Bureau.
The workshop was structured into three sessions. Session 1 was devoted for the setting of directions of the NGPP, Session 2 provided for the Review of 2013 Accomplishments, and Session 3 as the avenue for technical presentation which featured papers of three expert geologists. Discussions were as well stimulated in between sessions guided by rapporteurs/ moderators.
The five-day workshop culminated in a whole day tour which enabled the participants to get acquainted with the ground impacts of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the Bohol province on October 15 last year.
The workshop was participated in by all geologists and chemists of the Lands Geological Survey Division and Marine Geological Survey Division of the MGB Central Office and Regional Offices Geosciences Divisions. Also in attendance were the Chiefs of the Planning and Policy, Finance and Administrative Divisions of the MGB Central Office who provided inputs during the planning, financial and capacity building and human resource development programs and strategic directions of the MGB. Personnel from the Geological Database and information System Section of the Lands Geological Survey Division provided the secretariat and technical support to the said workshop.
MGB OIC-Assistant Director Dr. Elmer B. Billedo spoke for the Bureau during his opening remarks while Dr. Sevillo David, MGB-CO Geosciences Division Chief done the formal closing of the event.
To strengthen the regular monitoring of Marcopper Mines and consistent with the provisions of Executive Order No. 79 relevant to the rehabilitation of inactive/abandoned mines, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA commences the Hydrology Study to determine the impact of Marcopper on the surface waters of the Boac and Mogpog Rivers watersheds which is being undertaken by a third party specialist.
Late last year, the Office conducted its bidding for the consulting service to assume the commission which was eventually awarded to Lichel Technologies, Inc. The project has been recommended for implementation to provide information and tools to support decisions related to management and remediation of ground and surface waters affected by the Marcopper incident. The more specific objective is to determine the impacts of mine-related contaminants (acid, metals and sediments from tailings and mine wastes) on the present ground and surface waters of the abandoned Marcopper mine site, including the Boac and Mogpog River watersheds.
The task to consistently monitor the structures and facilities of the mine site has become a special function of the MGB-MIMAROPA which even necessitates contingent visits similar to the evaluation done after a 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Municipality of Boac on January 27 this year which prompted RD Roland De Jesus to immediately dispatch a team to assess the structures and facilities for possible deterioration or other detrimental effect.
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.