By Kit Bagaipo
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is finally stepping in to resolve disputes on mining claims in the province.
DENR Sec. Jose Atienza made the assurance after being informed that mining sites in the province already belongs to a single claimant authorized by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Atienza’s statement was issued during an exclusive interview with the Chronicle at the Prawn Farm last Wednesday.
The provincial lawmakers are on the process of crafting an ordinance on mining.
“The issue must be addressed decisively and expeditiously. Small miners must be given equal opportunity to benefit from our natural resources,” the environment chief stressed.
“If all these years one person has succeeded in syndicating the mining claims here in Bohol
, I wont tolerate that anymore,” Atienza declared.
Atienza said he will act immediately on the matter once he receives a formal complaint providing him the details and information of the said claimant.
“Everybody should have equal opportunity from mining. I will act on this immediately. Just give me the details and information about this claimant, you don’t even have to identify yourself,” he added.
The DENR secretary said he wants to “put a stop all illegal activities in mining so that as an industry it can be well appreciated by the people.”
“We must enforce the law to the letter and protect our natural resources,” he said.
The proposed Bohol Mining Code seeks to regulate small-scale mineral extraction in the province with the provincial government issuing permits to applicants.
Even Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera has criticized the approval of mining applications in Bohol.
Local mining applicants are most of the time deprived claim rights as majority of mineral rich areas in the province are already claimed by a Cebu businessman.