Seven minahang bayan were approved in the Cordillera and two more were cleared at the level of Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera Director Fay Apil said three minahang bayan were declared in Benguet, two in Apayao, and one each in Mountain Province and Abra and there are two more applications cleared for declaration in Apayao.
The Provincial Mining Regulatory Board of Apayao will soon meet to declare two minahang bayan in the province.
Of the seven minahang bayan, the Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association (Lipma) in Itogon, Benguet and Northern Sagada Barangay Small-Scale Miners Association Inc. in Fidelisan, Sagada, Mountain Province were issued small-scale mining contracts.
The three minahang bayan in Benguet are: one in Itogon applied by the Lipma covering 64 hectares, which was declared Jan. 15, 2019; one in Bakun applied by the Gambang, Bagtangan, Goldstar covering 287 hectares, declared in June 19, 2019; and one in Tuba applied by the Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners’ Association Inc. (BFSSMAI) covering 31.25 hectares in Sitio Camp 6, Barangay Camp 4 and declared on May 6.
The two minahang bayan in Apayao are both located in Conner: one is applied by Olivia Catral covering 20 hectares which was declared on Feb. 4, 2020 and the applied area by Manuel Canipas covering 2.1 hectares declared on March 15.
In Sagada, the minahang bayan was applied by the Northern Sagada Barangay Small-Scale Miners Association Inc. covering10 hectares in Fidelisan declared on Nov. 17, 2020.
The latest declared minahang bayan in Abra was applied by the Ag-Agit Small Scale Mining and Multipurpose Cooperative, Inc. covering an area of 20 hectares located in Sitio Ag-Agit, Barangay Mapisla, Licuan-Baay.
Apil said most of the applicants for minahang bayan are already complying with the requirements needed but most are hard up in accomplishing the required free prior and informed consent required by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. – Ofelia C. Empian