April 17, 2024

Two more minahang bayan in the Cordillera will soon be issued with small-scale mining contracts, according to the regional Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

MGB-Cordillera Director Fay Apil said the application for small-scale mining contracts of the Bulawan Land Owners Small-Scale Mining Association in barangay Butao and YCalanasan Minahang Bayan Association in barangay Eva Garden, both in Calanasan, are ongoing processing.  

“We are finalizing the small concerns on their environmental compliance certificate. Out of the 13 minahang bayan in the Cordillera, only two have an SSM mining contract. We are looking at four already if the two contracts will be signed,” Apil said.

MGB-Cordillera records show the Cordillera has 13 has declared minahang bayan with six in Apayao, four in Benguet, and one each in Mountain Province, Kalinga, and Abra.

The two SSM contracts were earlier approved and issued to Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association (LIPMA) in Itogon, Benguet and the Northern Sagada Barangay Small-Scale Miners Association in Sagada, Mountain Province.

Also, there are 12 minahang bayan with pending SSM contract applications, where some are complying for deficiencies, ongoing processing of its National Commission on Indigenous Peoples requirement, and others were returned due to the lacking mandatory and processing requirements.

Apil recognized the challenges being faced by small-scale miners in their application for minahang bayan and SSM contracts, such as securing the certificate of non-overlap from the NCIP.

“We aired our concerns on the conduct of free prior and informed consent to the DENR central office, I think the executives are talking with their counterparts from the NCIP central office to address the issue,” she said. 

The four minahang bayan in Benguet are located in Itogon by LIPMA covering 64 hectares and declared on Jan. 15, 2019; in Bakun by the Gambang, Bagtangan, Goldstar covering five hectares declared on June 19, 2019; in Tuba by the Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners’ Association Inc. (BFSSMAI) covering an area of 31.25 hectares in Sitio Camp 6, Barangay Camp 4 declared on May 6, 2021; and the Federation of Taneg Indigenous Communities Livelihood Association (FTICLA), which covers an area of 96.25 hectares in Taneg, Mankayan declared on Oct. 22, 2021.

There are six minahang bayan in Apayao, with four located in Conner: one is managed by Olivia Catral with 20 hectares declared on Feb. 4, 2020; Manuel T. Canipas with 2.1 hectares declared on March 15, 2021; the five-hectare operated by Paul Delwasen in Talifugo; and the 20-hectare area in Kahuban by Reynaldo Bugnay. 

Another two located in Calanasan by the Bulawan Land Owners Small Scale Mining Association with 20 hectares declared on June 30, 2021; and the 20-hectare by Roman Astudillo in Eva Garden declared on March 10, 2022.

In Sagada, the minahang bayan was applied by the Northern Sagada Barangay Small-Scale Miners Association Inc. with 10 hectares in barangay Fidelisandeclared on Nov. 17, 2020.

Abra has one minahang bayan by the Ag-Agit Small Scale Mining and Multipurpose Cooperative, Inc. with 20 hectares atsitio Ag-Agit, Barangay Mapisla, Licuan-Baay town declared June 2, 2021.

Kalinga has one minahang bayan by the Guinaang Tribe Indigenous People Cultural Community with 700 hectares declared on Jan. 20, 2022. – Ofelia C. Empian