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MGB RO-II participates in the 7th Community Relations Officers (COMREL) Conference: #MineResponsibility Campaign Launch and Social Development Speaks - Gathering voices on development initiatives for the welfare of the mining communities

The personnel of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office – II participated in the 66th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference (ANMSEC) with the theme “66 years of Responsible Mining. CULTURE. CARE. CHANGE.”. It was held at CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, Baguio City on November 19-22, 2019. The event was spearheaded by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA), the association that promotes the advancement of the Philippine Minerals Industry in the fields of occupational safety and health, environmental protection and social development consciousness through collaborative efforts of the industry, government, non-government organizations and other agencies.

Mining

Photo showing the delegates during the 7th Community Relations Officers Conference held at the Main Hall A of CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, Baguio City on November 20, 2019.

One of the activities of the said event is the 7th Community Relations Officers Conference. It was held on November 20, 2019 and was participated by the MGB RO-II personnel. This activity served as a platform for sharing and addressing issues and challenges experienced by the Community Relations Officers, community development workers and the stakeholders in performing their duties and responsibilities. The Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano gave the welcome remarks to acknowledge the presence of all the delegates in the said event. It was followed by the presentation of Engr. Glenn Marcelo C. Noble, the Regional Director of MGB RO-XIII on what is MGB.

 

One of the activities of the said event is the 7th Community Relations Officers Conference. It was held on November 20, 2019 and was participated by the MGB RO-II personnel. This activity served as a platform for sharing and addressing issues and challenges experienced by the Community Relations Officers, community development workers and the stakeholders in performing their duties and responsibilities. The Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano gave the welcome remarks to acknowledge the presence of all the delegates in the said event. It was followed by the presentation of Engr. Glenn Marcelo C. Noble, the Regional Director of MGB RO-XIII on what is MGB.

“The Mines and Geosciences Bureau is not just for the minerals industry. The MGB is for everyone, for the IPs, for our local government, and of course, the public as a whole”, Engr. Glenn Marcelo Noble said.

Meanwhile, the #MineResponsibility Campaign which includes informative videos entitled “Kutsara”, “Minsan kitang Minahan”, and “Biyaya ng Lupa” were presented during the conference and were applauded by the delegates.

MGB’s staunch for responsible mining was presented by the Regional Director of MGB RO-XII, Engr. Felizardo B. Gacad, Jr. He emphasized what is expected from Miners - he said that miners are expected to be granted a license, a social license every day, meaning to say this is the harmonious relationship that will be able to establish or should be able to establish the practice of responsible mining with the members of the community. And also, an environmental stamp of approval wherein programs implemented should address environmental impacts of activities, not through mere compliance but it has to go beyond compliance.

“We do understand that minerals and mining industry have always been considered as drive for economic development not only for the Philippines but also to the other countries. And now, this present administration is pursuing reforms in the minerals industry not purely for protection gains but with due and equal regard for environmental and social development”, he added.

Afterwards, Ms. Josephine B. Marrero, President of Imine, presented the “Tri-sectoral Partnership Among Permit Holders, MGB and Communities Results in Effective IEC”. She emphasized the accomplished activities undertaken by her organization to promote the responsible mining in our country which includes river projects. They have identified rivers in Region 1 such as Agno, Abra and Padsan rivers as pilot areas for information campaign. They have also published an Imine gazette. The first edition of the said gazette was published and launched on July 12, 2016. Additionally, the organization conducted painting of Imine murals along the highways of San Jacinto, Pangasinan, and Santa, Ilocos Sur. These murals were painted for the students to appreciate and be informed on the environmental protection and development.

“Our goal is to build a balanced information in education on responsible mining in showing public and community support and participation”, Ms. Marrero said.

One speaker that was lauded by the audience was Mr. Ryan S. Rocacurva who was once a leader of the protest rally for their community and small scale mining against the Apex Mining Company. Mr. Rocacurva shared his life changing experience before and after working with Apex Mining Company. He said “Ngayon bitbit nila (komunidad) ang tagumpay; kasi noong una, ako ay naging isang lider ng maling akala at maling daan. Noong dumating ang Apex sa buhay ko ay naging matuwid na daan ang aking napuntahan. Kaya nagbigay kami sa mga kapwa namin, sa komunidad. Doon sa komunidad nakikita namin paano nadala ng Apex Mining Company ang totoong responsableng minahan sa amin”.

Another presentation from the Apex Mining Company entitled “Go for Gold: Pursuing Partnership for Quality Education” was discussed by Ms. Jennilyn E. Lansang. This partnership is best known as the Bayanihan in Compostella Valley. She said that education is the important key or equal opportunity so that the government along with the private companies strive so much to make education inclusive and accessible to all. She also highlighted the four keys on sustainability in the field which includes (1) continued care, (2) sustainability, (3) capacity building, and (4) best practices.

Subsequently, Mr. Chito S. Maniago, the Regional Director of the Communication and Public Affairs of CEMEX presented the “Efforts and Various Endeavors to Promote Culture, Care and Change within Mining Company and Host Communities”. He said that first in the five pillars of community relations is “Walk the talk”. Beyond press releases and noises, we must be sincere in our efforts. He also highlighted the importance of good community relations team especially during crisis situations.

“I believe from the bottom of my heart that COMREL is one of, if not, the most difficult job in the industry”, he said.

After all the series of presentations discussed in the event, an open forum was conducted to address the queries and concerns of the delegates. The event ended with the closing remarks of Engr. Rodolfo L. Velasco, Jr., the Chief, Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division of MGB. Jessa Ammugauan