THE provincial government of Benguet is petitioning the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to once again allow small-scale mining operations in the province pending the approval of more Minahang Bayan applications.
“Our constituents are living through mining, many relying on it for survival which makes it impossible to stop them from operating while the Minahang Bayan applications are pending and being processed,” Benguet Vice Governor Ericson Felipe said in an interview.
According to Felipe, the process of accomplishing a Minahang Bayan application is complicated and tedious, preventing small-scale miners in the area from properly accomplishing the applications.
The provincial government has already in prior resolutions requested the DENR to streamline the requirements, which were identified as the reasons for delays in acquiring Minahang Bayan declarations.
“Our people engaged in small-scale mining are in a sad plight with their operation being simply tolerated because of the absence of legal status in operation and have to survive through mining as a livelihood. We hope that the DENR will reconsider soon,” Felipe added.
In 2018, the DENR issued a cease and desist order (CDO) for all small-scale mining operations in Benguet and the whole of Cordillera following the massive landslide in a mining community in the town of Itogon that claimed the lives of about a hundred people.