Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon. (Photo courtesy of Davao Oriental PIO)

DAVAO CITY – Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon has urged local government units (LGUs) Thursday to strictly enforce regulations in all mining activities in the province.

In a statement, Malanyaon asserted the provincial government’s authority as an independent LGU over the mining operations in the province.

In a meeting with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Wednesday, the governor examined the inventory of all existing mining tenements in the province and the status of mining operations and permits granted by the MGB.

“Davao Oriental has never made mining a priority,” Malanyaon said.

However, she clarified that as sustainable mining is part of the national policy, the provincial government is compelled to pursue its rights over mining taxes and other revenues some mining companies have failed to comply with.

“I am just here to protect the interest of my people and my province,” Malanyaon said.

Aside from the implementation of strict mining laws, Malanyaon also emphasized her stand not to allow mining operations within the vicinity of the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary is Mindanao’s only United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

“This early, they (mining operators) should be warned that there should be no encroachment in the protected areas of Mount Hamiguitan,” Malanyaon said.

Last month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-11) and MGB clarified that not a single open-pit mining exists within Davao Oriental's protected areas.

The agencies issued the clarification after an environmental advocacy group called on local authorities to move toward the full closure of an open-pit mining project in Davao Oriental located near Mt. Hamiguitan and Pujada Bay.

Both the DENR and MGB, however, said the Austral-Asia Link Mining Corporation and Hallmark Mining Corporation (ALMC/HMC), both in Barangays Cabuaya and Macambol in Mati City, are nickel mines with valid and existing mineral production sharing agreements.

According to the two agencies, the firms do not employ the open-pit mining method and only follow the “strip or contour mining” system. (PNA)