The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Region (DA-CAR) participated in the two-day Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) Forum held on September 19-20, 2023 in Bangaan, Sagada, Mountain Province.
In order to share knowledge and experiences and ultimately inspire action toward changing the sector’s practices globally, the forum, entitled “Empowerment through Engagement and Participation: Facilitating Access to Government Information and Services for Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Miners,” had brought together the miners of Sagada and Besao, policy and technical experts, and various government agencies.
Welcoming the participants was Sagada Mayor Felicito Dula, who stressed the importance of collaboration not only among government agencies but also with private sectors and Civil Society Organizations. Mayor Dula emphasized that unity is the cornerstone of progress in their community. He also reminded the participants to ensure a balance between environmental preservation and revenue generation in order for their community to thrive sustainably.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Red Cross, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Social Security System, and PhilHealth have all participated in the event.
DA-CAR, in line with its mission to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development, distributed Information Education Campaign materials during the event. Additionally, staff from the department were available to respond to participants’ questions and keep them informed about government services relevant to agriculture.
This event was organized by PlanetGOLD (Global Opportunities for Long-term Development in the ASGM sector), a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in partnership with the Provincial and Municipal Local Government Units. It is a verification to the commitment of various stakeholders to address the challenges faced by artisanal and small-scale gold miners while promoting sustainable practices.
The ASGM sector, while not directly related to agriculture, has undeniable implications for rural communities and the environment. By supporting initiatives like this forum, the DA-CAR underscores its dedication to holistic rural development. It recognizes that adopting collaboration, sharing knowledge, and promoting responsible practices in sectors unrelated to agriculture contribute to the overall well-being and resilience of rural communities.