MAC: Mines and Communities

Compostela Village Opposes Inclusion In Mining Zone

Published by MAC on 2006-11-15
Source: Inquirer

Compostela village opposes inclusion in mining zone - Suspended mayor sees mining firms behind removal

By Jeffrey M. Tupas, Inquirer

November 2006

DAVAO CITY -- Residents and officials of a village in Maragusan town, Compostela Valley province have banded together to block the inclusion of their area in a mining zone.

Recently, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) proposed that Barangay Coronobe be included in the mineral reservation zone in Southern Mindanao.

A foreign mining company has applied for a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The application covers 5,551 hectares of land that straddles the villages of Coronobe, Langawisan and Bahi in Maragusan and Araibo in Pantukan town.

But early this month, the barangay council of Coronobe and the residents signed a manifesto opposing the application for an MPSA

"We are against the large-scale mining operations here because we know its effects on the environment. We are also concerned about its effect on our livelihood and the possible displacement of the indigenous people," Dafroso Nalual Sr., Coronobe village chair, said.

Nalual said other villages have also signified their intention to join the campaign against the approval of the MPSA.

Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao, an environmental group, said Jake Mining's application for exploration came at a time when the MGB was conducting public hearings on the proposal declaring Mount Ayag, which includes Maragusan, a mineral reservation area.

"The people cannot be fooled anymore. They know the implications of the reservation zone being proposed by the government. We could only expect to see and witness the wanton destruction of the environment should this happen," Paolo Dumayac, secretary general of Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao said.

Meanwhile, the town mayor of Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental is blaming big mining operators for his suspension.

The preventive suspension order against Mayor Jerry dela Cerna stemmed from the case filed by one Shirley Ceniza, a municipal social worker, for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act (RA 3019).

Ceniza accused the mayor of paying a ghost employee a salary of P1,500 a month. The mayor denied the accusation saying the person being referred to as a ghost employee is Darvin Taghoy, who had actually worked as an encoder for the municipal government.

He explained Taghoy's services were also required for the drafting of the town's development plan. His services were terminated when the draft was finished. Dela Cerna, a former Catholic priest who had actively opposed large-scale mining in his town, said mining companies had been determined to remove him from office. The municipal council had passed a resolution banning all large and medium-scale mining operations in the town, a policy that angered mining firms, according to dela Cerna.

"These miners are very happy because I was suspended and they are actually expecting that I would be convicted of graft and corruption. They are supportive of the complaint because should I be convicted, they can start with their operations in my town again," dela Cerna said.

Only small-scale miners are allowed in the town but their operations are strictly monitored.

Dela Cerna said at least 26 mining corporations immediately applied for mining permits to operate in the town when his suspension was handed down.

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