MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Doe: No Coal Mining Yet At Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu

Published by MAC on 2006-11-13

DOE: No coal mining yet at Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu

PIA Press Release

13th November 2006

Koronadal, South Cotabato -- The Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed that there is still no coal mining activity yet at Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu.

This was confirmed by Engr. Ruel Malapitan, DOE representative from Manila during the first joint Provincial Development Council - Sangguniang Panlalawigan - Sangguniang Bayan (PDC-SP-SB) Meeting on Coal Mining Projects at Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu held at the PROTECH Center last November 8, 2006 (1 am).

Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes, PDC Chair presided over the meeting attended by Vice-Governor Eliordo U. Ogena, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, municipal and brgy officials, business and religious sectors, the academe, non-government organizations and people's organizations.

In his presentation, Engr. Malapitan divulged that DOE has only issued "exploration" permits, contrary to the reports received that coal development and production activities are being conducted in the said barangay.

The sitios affected by the said coal mining activities are Polo Subong, El Dulog, Kibang, Tafal and Bandala at Brgy Ned Lake Sebu, covering more or less 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and ancestral domain of the IPs in the area.

The DOE report also revealed that South Cotabato has a potential of 100 million metric tons of lignite coal. The Philippines on an annual basis locally produces more than 3 million metric tons of coal, while more than 7 million metric tons of coal is imported.

Daguma Agro-Minerals, Inc. and MG Mining & Energy Corp., two (2) of the mining companies conducting exploration in the area confirmed also during their presentation that their permit for coal development and production, will extract annually.

Coal development and production they said, will generate a thousand jobs and more than P70 million in investments annually.

But opposition groups led by the Justice and Peace Desk voiced out their concern on the dislocation of the farmers and IPs, mostly T'bolis, in their respective sitios.

They fear that the agreement signed by the concerned groups and the mining firms especially on the royalty payment, cannot compensate them on a long-term basis.

The representative of the National Economic & Development Authority (NEDA) in region XII who also attended the meeting, likewise expressed concern over the mining activities in the area.

She relayed to the body that during the regional consultative committee meeting, of which NEDA is the secretariat, have discovered that bgry. Ned, Lake Sebu under the regional land use plan is classified as a "watershed" area.

With this controversy, she added that NEDA will conduct another consultative meeting with the different concerned agencies such as the Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Department of Energy on November 14 (Tuesday) to harmonize the existing laws of the respective agencies concerning mining. (FCS-PGO/PIA 12)

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