New PENRO urges ‘responsible mining’

>> Saturday, June 16, 2018

Gina Dizon

BONTOC Mountain Province – There is such a thing as responsible mining, according to incoming Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ernesto Aton.
Aton said this during turnover ceremonies with outgoing PENRO Geoffrey Sidchogan Monday. A mining engineer by profession, Aton urged small scale miners to register with Minahang Bayan to legitimize their mining operations.
Recently, provincial police director Allen Ocden implemented temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) issued by the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB)  disallowing small scale miners of Sagada, Bontoc, Besao and Tadian from doing small scale mining operations.
For quite some time, small scale miners in Mountain Province including Benguet province had been persistent in their applications for registration of their mining operations but were not granted approval.
No Minahang Bayan registration has been granted to a small scale miner in the Cordillera.  
But Aton in a separate interview said registration process for Minahang Bayan can be shortened.    
Aton worked with Philex Mining Corporation and Batong Buhay Mining before moving to Abra as a Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer on to becoming PENRO.
He also served with the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR-CAR and regional focal person for the National Greening Program of the DENR.
Witnessed by some 200 staff and personnel of the PENRO and CENRO of Sabangan and Paracelis, Aton received responsibility from outgoing PENRO Sidchogan.
Sidchogan turned over status of DENR-PENRO including programs namely the National Greening Program (NGP), Integrated Natural Resources Management Program (INREMP) and Batangan.  
Present during the turnover rites were DENR Regional Director Ralph Pablo, representative to the Congressman, Arty Cyfrine Dalog, and representative to the Provincial Governor Pancho Reyes.
Reyes identified environmental issues of the Province namely illegal logging, illegal mining, forest fires, and batangan system.
Dalog said   cultural communities including the indigenous peoples of Mountain Province are natural environmentalists where they hold natural resources as sacred.
Pablo cited programs of the national government particularly on forest protection and clean rivers wherein CENROs and PENROs implement programs as a team.
In a separate interview, Pablo forwarded his support to current work of  Sabangan CENRO-PENRO in pursuing legislation of batangan practices with the municipalities of Besao, Sagada and Tadian, saying that batangan municipal ordinances be passed to the central office and eventually turned as national policy.


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