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The mining industry in the Philippines have always been viewed more often than not, as mere destructive because of its extractive nature, more considerably, the small-scale mining sector, which in most cases, do not practice responsible mining where parameters of economic growth, environmental protection and social equity are being observed mostly by the large-scale mining sector.  With this perennial setting, Republic Act (RA) No. 7942, or otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, despite its well-crafted provisions, remain unappreciated.

However, with the passing of Executive Order (EO) No. 79 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2012-07, Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector, Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental and Responsible Mining in the Utilization of Mineral Resources, is just what the small-scale sector might need in order to work on improving its positive image in the public and at the same time operate under existing laws and regulations of the Government. The it noteworthy that the EO recognizes the small-scale mining as a formal sector, through the establishment of a Minahang Bayan,  guided by the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act and is a potential source of decent livelihood that will help alleviate poverty within the community it operates.

As a response to this milestone, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) IX, through the Mine Management Division, have conducted assessments of some applications for small-scale mining cooperatives potential for a Minahang Bayan within Zamboanga Sibugay.  Alongside this assessment is a capacity building for these small-scale miners that focused on information, education and communication campaign through presentations and extensive discussions on pertinent laws such as the RA 7076, RA 7942, EO79 and their respective IRR’s and general coverage of Memorandum Circular (MC) No. MRD-2. 

Two (2) of the recipients of this capacity building seminar were the Kabasalan Rebel Returnees and Community Association (KARRCA) which requested for technical support in relation to their operations in the Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) area in Barangay Lacnapan, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay held at the Kabasalan Institute of Technology on October 30-31, 2013. The other seminar was conducted to the Guinabucan Small-Scale Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GSSMMPC) at the RTC Administration Building, Purok Linaw, San Fernandino, R.T. Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay  Province from November 27-28, 2013.