BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) declared the Loakan airport is not covered by the exploration permit it previously granted to the Golden Era company for exploration of areas within the city and parts of the nearby town of Itogon.
Engr. Felizardo Gacad, chief of the MGB-CAR mine safety, environment and social development division, said the company was given six months to secure the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) and the necessary permits from the affected communities with the emphasis that no ground works will be undertaken until the company shall have complied with the stipulated conditions on the exploration permit.
“Our map shows that the Loakan airport is not within the coverage of the areas to be explored by the company. We made it clear to them that they are given six months to comply with the conditions,” Gacad said.
Under the exploration permit granted to Golden Era, the regional director may, at any time, cancel the permit for violation of the provisions of the Mining Act and its implementing rules and regulations or the terms and conditions of the permit.
Further, the company was required to submit to the MGB-CAR regional office, copy furnished the MGB central office, the proof of consultation with project presentation to the City Council in the form of resolution or certification prior to the implementation of the approved exploration work program.
At the same time, the company was required to submit to the concerned offices the certificate of non-overlap or certificate precondition, as the case may be, from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) within six months from the issuance of the permit.
The MGB-CAR also required the company to submit a community development program in the same period.
The exploration permit was issued to Golden Era by the MGB-CAR on March 30, 2016, and it has a life span of two years from the date of issuance and renewable for similar periods but not to exceed a total term of four years for non-metallic mineral exploration or 6 years for metallic mineral exploration, provided that, the application for renewal of the permit shall be filed prior to its expiration, otherwise, any renewal application filed after such expiration shall not be accepted.
Earlier, NCIP-CAR regional director Roland Calde brought to the attention of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera the alleged grant of the exploration permit to Golden Era to explore an area of 444 hectares that reportedly covers the Loakan airport and several barangays in Baguio City without the conduct of the required free and prior consent from the affected communities.
However, MGB-CAR officials asserted that the full blast exploration in the areas will only be done upon the compliance of the company to the FPIC process within six months from the issuance of the permit.