‘Minahang Bayan’ bids pass review
BAGUIO CITY—Seventeen applications for the establishment of Minahang Bayan sites in the different parts of the Cordillera region have hurdled the initial review undertaken by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau central office, and the applicants have been notified of their deficiencies for their applications to proceed to the next stage.
Engineer Alfredo Genetiano, officer-in-charge of MGB-CAR’s mine management division, said the 17 MB applications were part of 59 total applications that were endorsed by the regional office to the central office for the initial review of their documentary requirements and their compliance with existing laws, rules and regulations.
“We gave them sufficient time to allow their applications to proceed to the next stage of the tedious processing of Minahang Bayan sites in the different parts of the region,” Genetiano stressed.
The MGB-CAR official said nine MB applications are in Apayao, four are in Benguet, three are in conflict-stricken Abra and one is situated in Kalinga.
Among the deficiencies uncovered by the MGB central office on the pending applications include documents that will prove that previous applications over the applied areas have already been abandoned; the existence of documents that will prove there are no overlapping claims over the applied areas; and pertinent studies showing the suitability of the area for the desired Minahang Bayan sites.
Genetiano said there is still a long way to go for the applications to be converted into Minahang Bayan sites because the applicants need to pass the rigid free and prior informed consent or FPIC process, where they will have to secure the consent of indigenous peoples within their applied areas.
This is prior to the issuance of the pertinent resolutions to support the issuance of the mandatory area clearance over the identified applied sites.
To ensure the continuous operation of small-scale mining associations in the different parts of Benguet pending the approval of the submitted MB applications, Genetiano said the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board granted temporary permits to 12 small-scale mining associations in the different parts of the province to operate until such time the MB applications shall have been approved.
Genetiano admitted the applications for MB sites in any part of the region are almost like the requirements for large-scale mining companies, which is why applicants have a difficult time hurdling the tedious processes prescribed for the purpose. They are still required to secure the consent of patent holders once their applications fall within patented claims.
The MGB-CAR is currently awaiting the action of its central office over the 38 other remaining MB applications that are now subject to the initial review process.