BAGUIO CITY—The city government has formally opposed the exploration permit given to the Golden Era mining firm to search portions of the Loakan airport area and several barangays here for valuable minerals.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan has expressed his disappointment to the regional Mines and Geosciences Bureau and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples offices over processing Golden Era’s permit without consulting with city officials.
“We were alarmed over the inclusion of the Loakan airport and several barangays in the city as part of the exploration permit application, that is why we already filed our opposition to uphold the interest of the city over the applied areas,” Domogan stressed.
The MGB and NCIP should have made sure if the proposed areas for exploration filed by Golden Era are within the declared mineralized zone under existing presidential proclamations and in accordance with Baguio’s new environmental code, the mayor added.
Earlier, NCIP-CAR regional director Roland Calde chided MGB-CAR for approving the exploration permit application of Golden Era over a 444-hectare area that includes Loakan, several barangays in the city and other barangays in nearby Itogon, Benguet.
However, MGB-CAR regional director Engr. Fay Apil explained that one of the conditions of the exploration permit application is for Golden Era to conduct the required consultations with the local governments and the free and prior informed consent of the indigenous peoples within a period of six months before the permit would be given due course.
While there are declared mineralized zones in some parts of Baguio, Domogan said the company must make sure their proposed activities “will not inflict heavy damage to the state of the environment over the applied areas.”
The mayor asserted that large-scale mining is not allowed within the city based on Baguio’s environment code. What would likely be allowed, he said, is the small-scale mining operation in identified mineralized areas, specifically in barangays Loakan, Apugan and Kias.
Mining around Loakan might endanger the airport’s operation in the future, which is why it was crucial for the governments of Baguio and Itogon to know where Golden Era was heading with its application, Domogan said.