Originally published by the Manila Times on 01/04/16
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The provincial government here is pursuing its advocacies to stop the entry of more large scale mining companies in collaboration with allied organizations.
Gov. Ruth Padilla said she will continue to collaborate and tap the support of organizations such as ABS-CBN Foundation, Alyansa Tigil Mina, Tanggol Kalikasan and Bantay Kita-Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to stop the entry of more large scale mining in the province.
At least two foreign large scale mining companies in the province – Australian OceanaGold Corporation with its Didipio Gold and Copper Project in the mountain town of Kasibu and British FCF Minerals, awaiting approval of its commercial operation with its Runruno Gold-Molybdenum Project in the town of Quezon.
Padilla said that one of her major courses of action is the lobbying for national support on the proposed Mining Free Zone Bill that will stop further destruction of the environment.
The governor’s husband, Rep. Carlos Padilla, who is finishing his three terms as congressman and now running for governor filed House Bill 1298 that seeks to prohibit “all mining operations” in the province and to declare the province as “mining free zone.”
The bill was originally filed in the 15th Congress as House Bill 5800 which was approved by the House on Nov. 28, 2012. However, the Senate failed to act on this measure and was refiled in the 16th Congress.
In the proposed bill, the congressman cited Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) report on the mining situation in the country which described the experience as “has been more debilitating and scaring” and that “mining operations have always been equated with environmental destruction-deforestation.”
He said that the organization’s report showed that mining have resulted in slope destabilization, soil erosion, desertification, water resource degradation, defertilization, crop damages, siltation, alteration of terrain and sea bottom, increased water turbidity and air pollution.
Meanwhile, the provincial government reported an increased collection of mineral tax among small-scale miners in the previous year under the Revised Revenue Code (RRC).
Padilla said the RRC amendments redounded to the implementation of stricter regulation on the extraction of minerals improved its collection of mineral tax from more than P3.3 million in 2012 to more than P6.6 million in 2015.
“We have also apprehended 146 violators of mining laws and policies and the issuance of cease orders to illegal small scale mining activities in the province,” she said.