The technical staff of the Monitoring and Technical Services Section (MTSS) of the Mine Management Division (MMD) of MGB-7 came up with a Technical  Paper entitled “Proposed Amendments for Streamlining of Procedural Requirements on the Declaration of “Minahang Bayan” per DAO 2015-03”. The Technical Paper was authored by Engrs. Edward S. Malahay (Engineer III), Ronnie B. Gierran (Engineer II) and Edgardo C. Loquellano (Supervising Science Research Specialist), all technical staff of MTSS. Engr. Raul A. Laput, the  OIC, Mining Operations Officer and Chief of MMD was actively involved in the  crafting of  the Technical Paper.

The technical staff of MTSS crafted the said Position Paper in view of MGB-7’s   disappointing experience in working for the declaration of a “Minahang Bayan” area. The earnest effort of the Office to fast-track the declaration of a “Minahang Bayan” area was somewhat overshadowed by the relatively long and circuitous procedures. This was aggravated by political, economic, social and environmental issues that came into the picture with the advent of some interest groups.

It was deemed imperative to  review the existing procedures to streamline procedural requirements on the declaration of “Minahang Bayan” through the amendment of the existing small-scale mining regulation, the DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-03 (the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7076),to make it more responsive to the needs of small-scale miners.

In gist, the Technical Paper reviewed and assessed each procedural  process/step and timeline  in the declaration of “Minahang Bayan”   and corresponding proposals to simplify and fast-track the declaration thereof were recommended/presented.

Among the relevant recommendations on the procedural steps put forth were the following:

  1. The Petition/request for Minahang Bayan shall be filed directly at the Regional Office, addressed to the concerned Regional Director as Chairman of P/CMRBs.
  2. The DENR Secretary shall be furnished with a copy of the result of initial review by the MGB Director, for his information.
  3. Notification to and submission of comments by holder(s) mining permit(s)/ contract(s) or mining applicant(s)  shall be dispensed with but shall be a requirement in the award of the Small-Scale Mining Contract (SSMC)
  4. Notification to and submission of comments by the landowner(s) shall be dispensed with but shall be required in the award of the SSMC
  5. Forwarding a copy of the Notice of the proposed Minahang Bayan to and Issuance of  Certificate of Non-Overlap/Compliance Certificate by NCIP  shall be dispensed with, but shall be a requirement in the award of the SSMC.  Provinces with no Indigenous People (i.e. Cebu) shall instead be issued NCIP Certificate of Exemption.
  6. Resolution of Appeal shall be done by the MGB Director and a copy thereof shall be furnished to the Secretary, for his information.
  7. The DENR Secretary shall be furnished with copies of all pertinent supporting documents for the proposed declaration duly evaluated/reviewed by the Director, for his information.
  8. The DENR Secretary shall be furnished with a copy of the clearance issued by the Director, for his information
  9. ECC shall be required only in the award of the SSMC and shall cover only the particular area embraced therein
  10. Reserve  validation shall only be required  in lieu of the existing procedure to shorten the time and fast-track the declaration of “Minahang Bayan”

It was envisioned that the implementation of the proposals and courses of action presented in the Position Paper will yield   the following positive outcome:

  1. Substantial reduction on the timeline to declare a Minahang Bayan with the streamlined procedural requirements.
  2. Fast-tracked declaration of “Minahang Bayan”.
  3. Gateway for the legalization of illegal small-scale mining operations thru the award of Small Scale Mining Contracts.

The Technical paper was presented during the MGB Technical Forum held in Tagaytay City last November 11-14, 2015. During the Technical Forum, the Paper was presented by Engr. Edward Malahay which elicited lively interaction and positive support from the participants and attendees.