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The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. V (MGB RO-V) as steward of the Bicol Region’s mineral resources, is mandated to the promotion of sustainable mineral resources development as its contribution to national economic growth and the Region’s community development now bares the significantly remarkable accomplishments under its CY 2018 Work and Financial Plan.

Under the Mineral Resources Enforcement and Regulatory Program, the MGB RO-V has issued two (2) exploration permits namely: Capalonga Asian Resources Mining Corporation located in Capalonga, Labo and Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte and United Paragon Mining Corporation situated in Paracale, Camarines Norte. This is in consonance with the DAO 2018-13 dated July 3, 2018 re: lifting the moratorium on acceptance, processing and/or approval of applications for Exploration Permits under DMO 2016-01.

Similarly, the Office also processed other mining-related permits wherein it has issued two hundred eighty-eight (288) Ore Transport Permits/Transport Permits to Phil. Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (gold) and to UBS Marketing Corporation (perlite). The Office has also granted twenty-nine (29) Ore Transport Certificates to Filminera Resources Corporation, Phil. Gold Processing and Refining Corporation, Bicol Chromite and Manganese Corporation, Johson Mining Corporation and Verzontal Builders. While other permits like Certificate of Environmental Management and Community Relations Record (CEMCRR) and Certificate of Exception (COE) were also granted to Filminera Resources Corporation and Masbate Minerals, Inc., respectively.

Under the Safety, Health, Environment and Social Program, the Office ensures the safety of the people working in the mine site as well as the community within the mining area. With this, the MGB RO-V has evaluated and granted Certificates of Approval for the companies’ Annual Environment Protection and Enhancement Program (9), Annual Social Development and Management Program (9), Community Development Program and Social Development and Management Program (3).

The Office has also conducted an inventory to six (6) small-scale and quarry sites in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

In the promotion of responsible mining in the Region, two (2) Minahang Bayan areas were declared. One in Aroroy, Masbate and the other one in Paracale, Camarines Norte. Likewise, a Minahang Bayan was also identified in Paracale, Camarines Norte applied by the Magkamatao Small-Scale Miners Association. Further, this Office has endorsed for clearance and/or approval for the establishment of a Minahang Bayan area in Barangay Malaya, Labo, Camarines Norte.

Under the Mining Industry Development Program, MGB RO-V closely monitored fifteen (15) mining and exploration tenements and its compliances on the implementation of their work programs. Moreover, the strengthening of Multi-Partite Monitoring Teams of Masbate Gold Project in Aroroy, Masbate; Quarry Cement Plant Project in Palanog, Camalig, Albay; Luklukan Gold Mining Project in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Rapu-rapu Polymetallic Project in Rapu-Rapu, Albay; Perlite Mining Project in Lamba, Legazpi City; and Baao Perlite Project in Baao, Camarines Sur are all operational and regularly monitored.

While in pursuance of eliminating illegal mining activities in the Region, MGB RO-V has conducted two (2) law enforcement operations in Malilipot, Albay and in Paracale, Camarines Norte which resulted in the confiscation of the equipment, ore stockpile with an approximate amount of Php169.15M, cessation of development works, and appropriate charges shall be further filed in court.

Further, MGB RO-V also investigated and verified seventeen (17) complaints which are related to mining and quarrying operations in the Region. These complaints are mostly received from Hotline 8888. Along with these conflict on mining issues, MGB RO-V issued ten (10) Cease and Desist Orders in the four Provinces in Bicol, to wit: Albay (1), Camarines Norte (3), Catanduanes (3) and Camarines Sur (3) for conducting quarry operations and selling/transporting of dredged quarry material without valid permits; illegal small scale mining; and illegal quarrying of sand and gravel. Five (5) complaints were also filed at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Daet, Camarines Norte and one (1) in Virac, Catanduanes. These were charges for violating section 5 of Administrative Order no. 2015-03 or the IRR of RA 7076 and section 103 of RA7942, theft of minerals.

Under the Mineral Resources and Geosciences Development Program, which aimed to promote awareness on the mandate of the Agency. The Office conducted awareness and advocacy activities on Mineral Resources and Geosciences in coordination with the Sanggunians, with the Academe, Civil Society Organization, Religious Organization, etc; and attended to Radio/TV Guestings and disseminated Press/Photo Releases through Office website.

While under the Geological Risk Reduction and Resiliency Program, the MGB RO-V conducted Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) to twelve (12) municipalities/cities in the Region, to wit: Legazpi City and Tabaco in Albay; Milaor and Camaligan in Camarines Sur; Milagros and Aroroy in Masbate; San Miguel and San Andres in Catanduanes; Capalonga and Sta. Elena in Camarines Norte; and Juban and Donsol in Sorsogon. In the like manner, geohazard maps of these twelve (12) municipalities/cities in scale of 1:10,000 had been updated.

Information and Education Campaign (IEC) / Seminar on VRA for Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Officials to fourteen (14) municipalities were conducted, namely: Balud, Masbate; Bulan, Sorsogon; Pili, Canaman, Magarao, Naga City, and Iriga City all in the Province Camarines Sur; Talisay, Labo, Daet, Vinzons and Lorenzo Ruiz all in Camarines Norte; Masbate City and Virac, Catanduanes. Likewise, a Seminar on VRA for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Officials in the Province of Albay were capacitated. A total of 2,676 IEC materials were disseminated during the said IEC caravan and twenty-five (25) lectures were conducted concerning Geologic Hazards and Geohazard Maps.

The Office also conducted coastal geohazard survey and assessment to eleven (11) municipalities covering Oas, Libon, Pioduran, Ligao City and Manito all in the province of Albay; El Nido, Taytay, Araceli, and Linapacan in Palawan; and Cataingan and Pio V. Corpuz in Masbate. Geological quadrangle mapping were also covered to ten (10) quadrangles, to wit: Bunducan in Esperanza, Masbate; Limbuhan in Pio V. Corpus, Masbate; Tinaga island in Basud, Camarines Norte; Kalibigaho in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Balocawe in Tagapul-an, Northern Samar; Cataingan, Masbate; Liboro in Ragay, Camarines Sur; Gibgos in Caramoan, Camarines Sur; Prieto Diaz in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon; and Pulanduta in balud, Masbate.

Under the laboratory services, a total of 1,801 samples were analyzed and 11, 221 determinations were undertaken.

On Groundwater Resource Assessment, the Office helped the Provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur in the identification of additional groundwater sources to be used by communities in the rural areas to address the poor access to safe water in the communities.

Further, under the miscellaneous geological services, a total of forty-two (42) services that includes geohazard identification surveys, geological site scoping, geologic investigation of landslide occurrences, assessment of sanitary landfill sites and relocation sites were undertaken. Likewise, the MGB RO-V extended one hundred seventy-four (174) services and assistance to walk-in clients, researchers including issuance of geohazard certifications.

Lastly, another involvement carried out by the Office was the hiring and capacitating of the ten (10) embedded personnel that were deployed in PENROs/CENROs in compliance with the order of the DENR Secretary to assists in the implementation of mining laws, rules and regulations in their area of assignment.

The Office takes pride in its outstanding accomplishment in CY 2018 and looks more optimistic at the bright prospects and opportunities of the in-coming year.