The Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Region 7 (MGB-7), in collaboration with AGF Consulting Group-Philippines, a leading ISO-based management systems consulting and training firm in the country, conducted an orientation seminar on ISO 14001:2015 Certification last February 12, 2016 at the DENR Compound in Banilad, Mandaue City.
In attendance during the seminar were various officials from operating mining companies in Central Visayas, namely, Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC), Apo Land and Quarry Corporation (ALQC), Apo Cement Corporation (APOCEMCO), Solid Earth Development Corporation (SEDC), Taiheiyo Cement Phills., Inc. (TCPI), Mabuhay Filcement, Inc. (MFI), Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC), Bohol Limestone Corporation (BLC), JLR Concrete Aggregates, Inc. (JLRCAI), Lazi Bay Resources Dev’t., Inc. (LBRDI), Quarry Ventures Phils., Inc. (QVPI), Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC) and Republic Cement & Building Construction, Inc. (RCBCI).
MGB-7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo opened the forum with grateful appreciation to the companies’ strong response to the invitation on such timely and relevant subject. DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-07, which was issued by DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje on April 30, 2015, has mandated all holders of valid and existing Mineral Agreement (MA) and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) that are in the Operating Period to secure ISO 14001 Certification. Initially, those engaged in metallic mining operations shall secure the ISO 14001 Certification within one (1) year from the date of the Administrative Order.
Mr. Angel “Jong” Fernandez, General Manager and CEO of AGF Consulting Group-Philippines, gave a concise presentation on ISO 14001:2015, which sets out and specifies the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS) that an organization can use to enhance its environmental performance. He discussed on the pillars of ISO 14001:2015, the benefits derived from it, and the updated requirements for the ISO Certification. Under the new version, he underscored on the importance of appropriate and adequate environmental policy; greater commitment from leadership; increased alignment with strategic direction; more effective communication, driven through a communications strategy; proactive initiatives / tools for greater protection for the environment; and performance evaluation and review of the EMS to achieve its intended outcomes, fulfill compliance obligations and ensure continual improvement.
During the open forum, Mr. Fernandez gave a range estimate of the cost and timeline in working for an ISO Certification; cited AGF’s 100% certification success rate on clients it had collaborated with; assured AGF’s 3-year assistance and support package after the granting of the ISO Certification; and shared on the significant advantage of credibility once a company becomes ISO certified. RD Alburo also reiterated that although companies engaged in non-metallic mining operations have only been given the option to secure an ISO 14001 Certification within the same one (1) year period after the effectivity of the DAO 2015-07, however, the deadline for the mandatory compliance thereof shall be set at the appropriate time, and thus, would also become mandatory.
An important part of the forum was the sharing of experiences in working towards ISO Certification from APOCEMCO’s Jenevy Patalingjug and CCC’s Christopher John Salcedo. APOCEMCO was accorded the Integrated (International) Management System, which embodies the integrated systems of ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management, ISO 14001:2004 for Environmental Management, and OHSAS 18001:2007 for Occupational Health and Safety Management. It was a PMIE Presidential Awardee (Platinum) during the 2015 PMSEA Convention held in Baguio City last November 2015. CCC was certified for both ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007 last November 30, 2015. Both corroborated that the benefits derived by their respective companies from the ISO Certification has far outweighed the costs. They also agree that the ISO consultants could offer support and guidance, and contribute to the success towards an ISO Certification, but utmost cooperation and support from top management is the major key.
Finally, RD Alburo gave his optimism that the ever supportive and compliant mining companies of Region 7, who are perennial recipients of the various Annual PMSEA awards, will again be the frontrunners to secure the ISO 14001:2015 Certification in the Philippine mining industry.