On December 9-10, 2020, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) jointly organized a two-day virtual consultation with large-scale and small-scale mining companies regarding the proposed policy entitled, “Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Protection in Mining Operations.”
The said event was graced by Usec Jim O. Sampulna, CESO III, Undersecretary for Enforcement, Mining and Muslim Affairs, DENR; Asec Nonita S. Caguioa, Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems and Mining Concerns, DENR; Asec Ricardo L. Calderon, CESO III, Assistant Secretary for Climate Change, DENR and concurrent BMB Director; and Atty. Wilfredo G, Moncano, MGB Director. The event was also joined by Atty. Danilo U. Uykieng, Assistant Director, MGB and Ms. Amelita DJ. Ortiz, Assistant Director, BMB.
The said draft policy emanated from the 13th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December 2016, wherein it was identified that aside from agriculture, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, other sectors such as energy, urban and regional planning, infrastructure, manufacturing industry and mining also negatively impact biodiversity. Hence, as a commitment of the Philippines to CBD and in response to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the country developed various plans such as the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP) and included priority strategies in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) to address the issue.
To mainstream the country’s commitment to CBD, BMB and MGB prepared a draft DENR Administrative Order that aims to provide adequate measures for responsible mining towards ensuring biodiversity consideration and protection, including rehabilitation of mined-out areas; and to minimize negative impacts on biodiversity and ensure maintenance of biodiversity towards rehabilitation/restoration of ecosystem goods and services.
Various stakeholders of the mining industry participated in the said two-day virtual consultation composed of Chamber of Mines of the Philippines; Philippine Nickel Industry Association; Philippine National Coalition for Small-scale Mines; DENR Regional Offices, BMB, MGB Central Office and Regional Offices. A total of 187 and 54 participants attended during the two-day virtual consultation with large-scale and small-scale mines across the country, respectively.
During the virtual consultation, the participants were clustered to four (4) breakout groups according to the mineral commodity being extracted/processed in their respective locations across the country such as nickel; copper and gold; limestone; and aggregates. The pertinent provisions of the draft policy were thoroughly discussed in each breakout group. A representative from each breakout group presented the respective agreements/comments to the plenary for panel discussion with MGB and BMB.
MGB and BMB Technical Secretariat served as facilitators with assistance of United Nations Development Programs Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN) Project Philippines. The Technical Secretariat consolidated all the comments and suggestions during the said consultation. The highlights and agreements will be presented to the joint Policy Technical Working Group (PTWG) of MGB and BMB and eventually to DENR PTWG for approval of Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.
By: Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division
Photo 1. Participants from the Large-scale Mining Companies (DAY 1).
Photo 2. Participants from the Small-scale Mining Companies (DAY 2).