By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City – The Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PMDC) has threatened to dismantle 23 active small mining facilities for resisting the order for them to transfer from Diwalwal to a relocation site prepared for them in Barangay Mabatas in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
PMDC president Alberto B. Sipaco Jr. said that there were a total of 210 out of 223 registered mining companies which signed up and agreed for the transfer of their facilities in Mabatas area, covering 60 hectares on the mountain range.
He said the owners of the remaining active facilities, who did not sign up were given only until June 11 to register with PMDC which is set to enforce the July 2017 cease and desist order that had been stalled due to the opposition of the miners and local government.
He said Monkayo Municipal mayor Ramil L. Gentugaya ordered PMDC to stop any mining and exploration activities, citing Section 25 of the municipality’s Environmental Code prohibiting mining explorations without a “presentation of proof of a valid permit to extract mineral and quarry resources from any concerned government authorities.”
The mayor’s order also covers all other mining areas under the controlof PMDC, including those covered by joint operating agreements without the requisite Mayor’s clearance.
Sipaco added that the execution of the PMDC’s order came after the Department of Justice (DOJ) nullified the mayor’s order since it only cited a local ordinance and that the local government has no authority over projects of the national government such as the Diwalwal.
He said that the operations of the small-scale miners must also be stopped due to contamination of poisonous substances containing mercury and cyanide and failure to follow responsible mining practices.