March 19, 2012
Legarda Wants Inquiry into Reported Mining Activities
Senator Loren Legarda today called for an investigation on the reported mining activities being conducted within the area of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.
Legarda explained that during the on-site consultative meeting of the Committee on Cultural Communities, which she chairs, concerns were raised over the potential gold mining activities in the rice clusters of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. This prompted her to file a resolution urging the Senate to look into alleged small-scale mining operations in the area.
"The Ifugao Rice Terraces had been included in the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the absence of the necessary monitoring mechanism and management plan to preserve and ensure the sustainable development of the national landmark," she pointed out.
"The encroachment of illegal small-scale mining operations in the Ifugao Rice Terraces further puts a threat to the already rapidly deteriorating state of this heritage site," Legarda stressed.
She also said that news reports revealed the existence of small-scale mining activities taking place in Barangay Hapao in Hungduan, and Ducligan and Bangaan villages in Banaue, which host the rice terrace clusters included in the World Heritage List.
Furthermore, the Provincial Government of Ifugao reported that illegal mining operations are also present in Barangay Baang, Hungduan and Halag, Aguinaldo, an area outside the jurisdiction of heritage sites.
The Senator said that these illegal activities should be immediately addressed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board created by virtue of Republic Act 7076 or the People's Small-Scale Mining Act.
Legarda stressed that the Senate inquiry would determine remedial measures to ensure that the Ifugao Rice Terraces are sustainably protected.
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