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Mining Law and Rights of Land Owners

The proposed mining ordinance of the province is seen as a long-overdue mechanism for the recognition and protection of the rights of the Boholano landowners and the environment of Bohol.

In the absence of the provincial law, the mining applications filed with the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), thru the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), are approved without the affected landowners' consent.

Even if there are non-Boholanos among them, those who are granted mining concessions in Bohol just pay the required government fees thru the higher office of DENR or its direct arm and then earn lavishly.

They will collect royalty fees from quarry extractors, for example, whose permits cover the areas which are already claimed mining concessions of the former as approved not by the local DENR-EMB office.

The concerned legal owners get nothing from the natural bounties mined from their lands, lamented Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II who principally authored the Bohol Mining Ordinance pending for second reading approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP).

The young capitol legislator said his measure seeks to correct errors long tolerated simply for the absence of an apt provincial law.

Damalerio, chairman of the SP environment committee, had earlier asked in a resolution the DENR-MGB to suspend all applications for mining concessions in Bohol while the provincial board is yet tackling his proposed ordinance.

The legislative measure, as filed and initially deliberated, contains 17 articles and 46 sections, and governs 14 types of permits, including those already provided for in the existing quarry ordinance of the province.

The latter types of quarry extraction licenses have been incorporated to the proposed mining ordinance.

The ordinance also seeks to prevent the deceptive practice of using dummies in applying for mining rights

This use of fronts is evident in DENR records, according to Damalerio.

He said it is also high time to establish a stringent local mining policy that gives premium to the balance between economy and ecology.- Source: Bohol Chronicle

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