The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 is holding a one-day stakeholders’ forum on the presentation of Executive Order Number. 79, and consultation on the draft revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on Republic Act Number 7076 or the People’s Mining Act of 1991.

This, as MGB seeks to obtain inputs or thoughts from the members of provincial and city mining regulatory board (P/CMRB) in four provinces, mayors in the municipalities and cities with small-scale mining activities, small-scale miners, and a representative from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo said the consultation is very important as EO 79 expressly states small-scale mining activities shall be governed by the provisions of RA 7076, and shall be undertaken only within the declared people’s small-scale mining areas or “minahang bayan”.

“This is done simultaneously throughout the country pursuant to the Mining Industry Coordinating Council’s (MICC) deliverables,” Alburo added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued DENR Administrative Order No. 2012-07 last September 10 or the IRR for Executive Order No. 79 institutionalizing mining reforms in the country.

Organized by the MGB 7, the said consultation was attended by 53 participants mostly members of P/CMRB last September 13 at the DENR 7 Training Hall, Banilad, Mandaue City.

In a statement, DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje said the IRR was issued in accordance with the deadline prescribed by Malacanang, and will take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

The said IRR looks to achieving the six-point agenda adopted by the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and the Economic Development Cabinet Clusters, such as ensuring the mining industry’s contribution to the country’s sustainable development, adoption of international best practices and promote good governance and integrity in the sector, and ensure the protection of the environment by adopting technically and scientifically sound methods as well as indigenous best practices.

“The activity is actually part of the environmental governance as espoused by DENR Secretary Paje that promotes transparency in crafting proposed guidelines where stakeholders are consulted to get their specific interests or concerns while pursuing a balanced policy,” said DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo.

The rules are also seen to ensure the consistency of local issuances with the Constitution and national laws, including a fair, adequate and equitable shared economic benefit for the country and the people, and deliver efficient and effective management of the mining sector.

EO 79 was issued on July 6, 2012 by President Aquino to institutionalize reforms in the mining industry, with focus on ensuring environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of the country’s mineral resources.

Under the IRR, the areas banned from mining have been expanded to include tourism development areas identified not only in the National Tourism Development Plan but also in local development plans.

Other areas where mining are not allowed include those that have been expressly provided for in Republic Act No. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act); protected areas established under the RA 7586 (National Integrated Protected Areas System); prime agricultural lands, lands covered by RA 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law as amended), plantations and areas devoted to valuable crops, and strategic agriculture and fisheries development zones and fish refuge and sanctuaries declared as such by the Department of Agriculture; and other critical areas, island ecosystems and impact areas of mining that the DENR may identify pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.