March 3, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) has recognized the first minahang bayan in the province during its fourth quarter meeting last week.

The PMRB passed Resolution 1, s. 2020 which declared the area applied for by Northern Sagada Small-scale Miners Association Inc. (NSBSSMAI) covering 10 hectares in Barangay Fidelisan, Sagada as people’s small-scale mining area or minahang bayan after complying with the conditions of the issued clearance.

The resolution was signed by PMRB Chair and Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera OIC Director Fay W. Apil, Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr.; small-scale miners representative Herman Soliaban; and non-government organization representative, Engr. Paul C. Sapaen.

Apil said the board received a memorandum on June 8 from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources giving clearance to the applied area of NSBSSMAI to be declared as minahang bayan.

She said the application for the small-scale mining area was filed with the PMRB, evaluated and verified by the MGB regional and central offices, and was subsequently endorsed to the DENR Secretary for clearance.

Lacwasan thanked the DENR, MGB, and the Mountain Province Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) for helping local small-scale miners comply with the necessary documents, since the application for a minahang bayan is a difficult process.

With the declaration of the small-scale mining area, the miners’ organization must secure the certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and an environmental compliance certificate. It must also designate a mineral processing zone.

The signing of the resolution was witnessed by MGB-Cordillera Mining Services Division Chief Alfredo J. Genetiano, provincial Assistant Department Head Cornelio Diego of Penro, and PMRB Focal Person Angel B. Baybay. – Erwin S. Batnag