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    Posted July 11, 2012 by

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    Mining-free zones in the region, selected few


    The mining-free zones in the Davao Region will be limited only to areas that have the tourism potentials and would not be including the entire provinces mentioned in the Executive Order 79 issued by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.


    This was the clarification made by both the Department of Tourism and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in the region after reports identifying Davao Gulf and Coast, Davao City-Samal Island, Davao del Sur, and Compostela Valley-Davao Oriental as no mining zones.


    DOT 11 director Art Boncato clarified that though all of the provinces in the region were identified as tourism development area (TDA) in the national tourism development plan (NTDP) of the DOT, only specific attractions/areas will be declared as no-mining zones.


    "The specific attractions, sites and activities per TDA have been, being and will be identified by the LGUs together with the DOT and private sector stakeholders. The NTDP is a dynamic medium term development plan that aims to address issues on access, product development and promotions as well as tourism HR and tourism governance," Boncato said.


    MGB 11 director Edilberto Arreza said among those that have long been identified as off-limits to any form of mining activity are the Mt. Apo reservation and the Mt. Hamuigitan in the tri-boundaries of Mati City, San Isidro and Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental.


    "May mga specific technical description ang mga areas na ito," Arreza said.


    On top of the protected areas cited in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the National Integrated Protected Area System, EO 79 also bans mining in

    tourism development areas identified by the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP); prime agricultural lands such as plantations and other properties devoted to valuable crops; fisheries development zones and marine sanctuaries as declared by the agriculture secretary; and island ecosystems to be determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through mapping technology.


    Compostela Valley Representative Maria Carmen Zamora meanwhile hailed EO 79 saying that the said order is the result of "months of consultations and planning by the Executive" and that it is a responsibleand timely directive for the preservation of our mineral resources.


    "The moratorium on the grant of new mining agreements, advocacy for consistency with local ordinances and regulations, ban on the use of mercury, child labor and mining in identified protected and ecologically-sited areas are all geared toward preserving resources for the future. While understandably our miners are now being asked to contribute through the royalties in future mining contracts and increased fees, it is but a timely push for national revenue, and it coincides with the protection offered by the moratorium. We support President Aquino's thrust for progressive and sustainable mining policy," Rep. Zamora said.


    In a released statement, environment group Panalipdan Southern Mindanao however said that "unless a biodiversity and mineral-rich area is officially declared as protected area, there is still a chance that mining companies will be able to control them".


    The group instead urged for the passage of the "People's Mining Bill" which expands the list of areas where mining should not be allowed, including the environmentally-critical areas, areas vulnerable to acid-mine drainage, geohazard and climate disaster-prone areas which were not included in EO 79 of President Aquino. BOT

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