Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MGB-13 bares state of Caraga minerals industry

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, July 4 (PIA) – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau - Regional Office No. 13 (MGB-13) disclosed that as of June 30, 2017, there are 25 mining companies operating with permit in Caraga region.

Of the 25 companies, 21 are operating under a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA); two with Mineral Processing Permit (MPP); and two under Joint Operating Agreement (JOA).

Engr. Roger de Dios, regional director of MGB-13 said during a press conference on Friday held in this city that out from the total approved mining permit area of 180,070.14 hectares, two percent or 3,326.79 hectares is the total active mining area in the region.

“This can be translated that the total active mining area of 3,326.79 hectares covers only 0.17 percent of the 1,913,842 hectares total Caraga land area,” said de Dios.

As further discussed, De Dios explained that the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) initial phase financial requirement is 10 percent of the total capital or project cost. In which, the annual EPEP obligation would be a minimum of three to five percent of the total of direct mining and milling costs.

“The approved annual EPEP budget for CY 2016 was P2,792,802,380.29. The EPEP is the comprehensive and strategic environmental management plan for the life of the mining project on which annual EPEPs are based and implemented to achieve the environmental management objectives, criteria and commitments including protection and rehabilitation of the disturbed environment,” said De Dios.

With regard to mineral resources data on sales, the total amount of commodity (gold, silver, chromite, nickel, mixed minerals) sold in 2016 has reached to P42,442,433,793.95 (US$894,340,264.06).

“This has resulted to a royalty tax collection in the amount of P1,040,219,896.59 and a computed excise tax of P710,046,977.66,” said De Dios.

He also added that the IP share collection for CY 2016 in Caraga region totals to P244,662,290.03.

On the other hand, De Dios underscored the significant roles of the contractors to assist in the development of its mining communities and promotion of general welfare of its inhabitants, including the development of science and mining technology through the Social Development Management Program (SDMP)

“The SDMP should be able to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for employees, their dependents, and the neighboring communities during the life-of-the-mine and even after the mining company ceases its operation,” said De Dios.

Per three-year comparative employment generated of the mining industry in the region, it has employed 22,296 individuals in 2014; 28,512 (2015); ad increased to 30,829 in 2016.

As part of the bureau’s commitment in championing sustainability in mining and geosciences, MGB-13, in cooperation with the Caraga Mine Environmental Management Council (CMEMC) and the Community Relations, Education and Development Officers (CREDO), Inc., has conducted recently a series of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Caravan held in different provinces and towns of the region wherein significant policies that govern mining operation were discussed to the participating people’s organization, non-government organizations, students and faculty representatives.

According to De Dios, the bureau would not hesitate to suspend the operation of mining companies, if necessary. “We will not condone any violations perpetrated by any mining operators. That’s why we are continually monitoring their activities to ensure that they are adhering to the government standards and also urging the community to report to the right authorities any unlawful acts they will observe,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, CMEM council president Engr. Robert Francisco also stated that stakeholders must do collaborative efforts to achieve real development that everyone is aspiring for. "We could not just neglect the negative impacts but have to value responsible mining and undertake initiatives for progressive rehabilitation of mined-out areas," he said. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


OWWA Caraga now accepts applicants for EDSP

BUTUAN CITY, July 4 - The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) calls for direct dependents of active Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who shall enroll or currently enrolled in any four or five year baccalaureate course. For school year 2017-2018, the agency now accepts applications for the degree-granting scholarship programs.

The Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) is a competitive grant given to the applicants who can ace the highly demanding examination administered by the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) where only the top 400 OWWA examinees nationwide will be awarded the scholarship.

With its revamped scheme, slots available for incoming freshmen have doubled to 400 compared to the 200 from the previous years. On top of that, 30 slots for Caraga are also available to those already in 2nd-5th year in college. Grantees shall receive a financial assistance of P30,000.00 per semester.

Applicants for incoming freshmen must be 21 years and below, single and a grade 12 senior high school student at the time of applications. He/she must have a general weighted average not lower than B letter grade or 85% equivalence or higher and should belong to the top 20% of the graduating class duly certified by the School Principal. Furthermore, he/she must belong to the top 400 OWWA qualifiers from the DOST-SEI national qualifying examination.

Those who are already enrolled in 2nd to 5th year must not be more than 30 years old to qualify. The applicant must not have any grade lower than B or 85% in ALL academic and non-academic subjects from the previous school years. Only 6 slots are available per province which totals to 30 slots for Caraga. Acceptance and approval shall be on a “first come, first served” basis.

To qualify as a dependent, the applicant must be a child of a married or unmarried OFW and/or brother or sister of an unmarried OFW and must be single.

The scholar will continue until the completion of the course regardless of subsequent status of OFW membership provided that the terms of the scholarship agreement are complied upon.

Deadline for filing of applications will be on July 15, 2017. Application forms are available at the OWWA Regional Welfare Office Caraga; their School Principal or Guidance Counselor (if available); PESO Office in the Local Government Units (Municipal and Provincial); and Active OFW Family Circle/ Organizations (OFCs). Filing and submission will be at the Regional Office only.

Interested applicants may contact or visit the regional office for any inquiry regarding the program. OWWA Regional Office is located at Nimfa Tiu Bldg., II J.P. Rosales Ave., this city. They may also call the contact numbers (085) 815-1894/342-6178 or hotline numbers 09399259895 for smart and 09173150590 for globe. (JPIM/ OWWA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)