Caraga mining firms commit to P-Noy’s nat’l greening program

By Vanessa Almeda
Mining companies in the region have committed to join the national greening program of the Aquino government with the signing of a memorandum of agreement wherein their employees, officials and the host communities will plant at least 10 trees for every individual every year until 2016.
The Chamber of Mines Caraga Region, Inc. (CMCRI), the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) inked the agreement at the culmination of the Environment Month on June 30 at the Surigao del Norte Provincial Forest Park in Brgy. Ipil here.
The place was the mined out area of Pacific Cement Philippines (PACEMCO), which incidentally is already part of the final decommissioning and rehabilitation phase of the mining company as exemplified under the Mining Act of 1995.
According to Dulmar Raagas, CMCRI president, mining companies are committed to preserving the environment contrary to perceived negative reports, while underscoring the efforts and initiatives of responsible mining companies that follow environmental laws.
“This is actually the first in the province and (even in) the city as this is participated by the various stakeholders, including the local government units. The mining sector here in the region shows its commitment to preserving the environment,” Raagas noted.
He also cited as “one-sided” the recent report by ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon showing the negative effects of mining to the environment. “You’ve seen the area. It’s been dredged and rehabilitated. And you will see that it is being developed,” Raagas said, referring to Claver Bay, particularly along the coastline where Taganito Mining operates.
The Chamber of Mines official added that the industry is not bothered by the report, nothing that it is Failon’s duty to report.
Raagas disclosed CMCRI and its members are negotiating with the provincial government to have a portion of the park be “exclusively” apportioned to them.
“Mining companies are now required to take part in the national greening program of the government,” said lawyer Rise Faith Recabo, legal and administrative chief of the MGB’s regional office.
“The main objective basically is to inform the public that mining companies are not only doing initiatives in promoting a better environment inside (the mining sites) but also outside,” she added.
Mining executives and support groups from host communities as far as Agusan del Sur joined the activity which mainly included tending the trees and grass cutting. “We cannot plant yet because of the weather so we just watered the trees, cut some grass and tendered the nursery,” she said.
An extemporaneous speech competition, poster making and essay writing contest was subsequently held, participated by students from the host communities.
The national greening program is one of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s priority programs in addressing global warming and greening the barren mountains of the country. He issued Executive Order No. 26 series of 2011 which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees covering at least 1.5 million hectares all throughout the country until 2016.
 The DENR is the primary agency responsible for the protection, preservation, management and utilization of the country’s natural resources. (Vanessa L. Almeda / MindaNews)

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