BAGUIO CITY – The City Government already notified the Cordillera offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) of its opposition to the mining exploration permit application filed by Golden Era over portions of the Loakan airport and several barangays in the city.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed disappointment over the processing of the exploration permit without due consultations with local officials to ascertain whether or not the proposed areas for exploration are within the declared mineralized zone under existing Presidential Proclamations and in accordance to the city’s newly passed environmental code.
“We were alarmed over the inclusion of the Loakan airport and several barangays in the city as part of the exploration permit application of a mining company that is why we already filed our opposition to the said application to uphold the interest of the city over the applied areas,” Domogan stressed.
Earlier, NCIP-CAR regional director Roland Calde chided the MGB-CAR for giving due course to the exploration permit application of Golden Era over a 444-hectare area that includes the Loakan airport and several barangays in the city and other barangays in nearby Itogon, Benguet.
However, MGB-CAR regional director Engr. Fay Apil explained that one of the conditions of the exploration permit application is for the company to conduct the required consultations with the concerned local governments and the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) within a period of six months before the permit will be given due course.
While it is true that there are declared mineralized zones in some parts of the city, Domogan pointed out the company must make sure that their proposed activities will not inflict heavy damage to the state of the environment over the applied areas to prevent the existing situation from being affected by the expected exploration activities.
He asserted large-scale mining operation is not allowed in the city pursuant to the provisions of the city’s environment code and what will likely be allowed will be the small-scale mining operation only in the identified mineralized areas, specifically in barangays Loakan Apugan and Kias.
According to him, it is unfortunate that part of the exploration permit application of the company covers the Loakan airport which might endanger the proposed operation of the facility in the future, thus, the need for concerned agencies to be aware of the position of the local government that it is against the approval of the application.
He said it should be made clear to the company that the local government believes that the exploration activities that will conduct will be detrimental to the state of the environment and the economic activities of the people living in the different communities around the applied areas that are being forecasted as sites for their exploration activities in the city and some parts of the mineral-rich town of Itogon.
By Dexter A. See