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The Certification International Philippines, Inc. (CIPI), a reputable certifying body and an affiliate of a British company Certification International U.K. Ltd. conducts Stage 1 audit to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region XII on January 16-17, 2017. This is to assess the readiness of the management system of the office to the Stage 2 audit.

MGBXII aims for ISO certification covering the integration of the Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015) and Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS 18001:2007) into the present Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2015) for better delivery of services to its customers with due regard to the promotion of environmental protection and personnel safety.  The IMS is also aimed to capacitate the field personnel on mining environmental audits and to focus on the quality, health and safety management in the workplace as emphasized by the OIC-Office of the Regional Director Efren B. Carido.

Engrs. Joselito C. Soler and Sybil C. Paden, team leader and member respectively of the CIPI audited the effectiveness of the provision of geosciences , mine management, mine safety environment and social development, and finance and administrative services of MGB XII. Similarly, they look into the adequacy, suitability, and the effectiveness of the IMS against the requirements of the three ISO standards. Under the IMS approach, it is the responsibility of the MGBXII to ensure that its operations are carried out in a safe and productive manner, reducing the potential negative impacts to people, property or environment and satisfying the needs of customers.

As a result of the 2-day audit, the external auditor’s declared the readiness of MGB XII for the stage 2 audit with some significant observation and no non-conformity.

CIPI

The Multi-Stakeholders Team (MST) held its biennial meeting on December 6, 2017 at Biarong Resto, Koronadal City. This aims to review the performance of existing mining operations based on the guidelines and parameters set forth in the mining contract and in the pertinent or applicable laws, rules and regulations such as the Mining Act of 1995, EO 79 and the Labor Code. It includes compliance of environmental standards, reportorial requirements, terms and conditions of the mining permit/contract and field verification, among others.

Engr. Efren B. Carido, Officer-In-Charge of the Office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (OIC-ORD) expressed in the welcome address his gratefulness to the representatives of the Province of South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat and the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for their participation. He stressed that the review is mandated by Executive Order 79 as one of the policy reforms in the mining sector. He likewise informed that MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2013-03 was issued afterwards to include the representatives of various government agencies in order to comprehensively evaluate the performance of the mining companies within the region and come up with recommendations to the findings of MGB XII.

Unknown to many, Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) and TMC-Tribal Mining Corporation, both mining companies located at Tampakan and Tboli, South Cotabato respectively undertook the preservation and rehabilitation of water bodies in their respective areas.

SMI and TMC, an FTAA and MPSA permit holder respectively had engaged into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with EMB XII as adopters of an estero or water body. SMI adopted the Altayan River that stretches along Barangays Pulabato and Liberty in Tampakan, South Cotabato while TMC on the other hand adopted the Kematu River down to Sapali River in Tboli, South Cotabato. They were among the private entities that partnered with Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region XII to rehabilitate water bodies under the program dubbed as Adopt an Estero/Water Body Program of EMB XII.

During the Gawad Parangal for Eco-Friendly Schools and Adopt-an-Estero event at Tierra Montana Hotel, General Santos City on December 5, 2017, both companies presented their best practices. Among them are the riparian planting of bamboo cuttings and seedlings, river clean up, water sampling, water quality monitoring and stream flow measurement which were conducted by the SMI. Likewise, TMC did the planting of bamboo seedlings along the riverbank and clean-up of Kematu River. 

SMI had set up three (3) water quality monitoring stations in Altayan River to monitor and validate the water quality of the river way through measurements of dissolved oxygen, ph, BOD dissolved metals. 

The mining companies have continuously contributed to maintain the physical appearance of the said water bodies and the reduction of solid waste in the river to ensure its improved water quality. These acts are proof that shows that mining companies are concerned and are very much willing to ensure a healthy waterways in the region.

SMI (pic.1) and TMC (pic. 2) on their presentation of the highlights of Adopt a Estero/River Body program of EMB XII.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region XII conducted the Information Education Communication (IEC) on responsible mining to the student participants, teachers, and parents during the Regional Eco-Scilympics held at Kalawag Central Elementary School at Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on November 24. The event was a convergence of science enthusiasts of different schools within SOCCSKSARGEN Region to compete for the best science investigatory project researchers, quiz, and other contests. Geologist Jilvert Mondido and Mary Ann C. Tenorio presented the topics of Earth Science and responsible mining, respectively.

The IEC team got the chance to be included in the event through the invitation of Ms. Josie Teofila Quijano, science coordinator of Department of Education, Region XII.  Students and teachers were interested to the topic of earth science and the mineral ores exhibited during the presentation. They were enlightened that the ore samples taken from the exploration stage is done through drilling of less than 3 inches holes contrary to their belief that drilling was done through excavation of large holes. Likewise, they were able to understand that everything we use in our daily lives, from waking up in the morning to sleep, are from the products of mining.  

The IEC to the Regional Eco-Scilympics is part of the continuous campaign of the MGB regional office for the promotion and awareness of responsible mining. It is also the action taken by the office in response to the call of the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to counter the negative publicity or misinformation on mining.

On November 15, a similar IEC was undertaken at Meeting Room 2 of SM City, General Santos City. The participants were DepEd teachers and school principals, LGU planners and executives and their representatives and other stakeholders. MGB will continue its drive to inform the students and teachers of the region on the correct information on mining.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region XII personnel undergo drug testing on October 19, 2017. Fifty-four (54) employees submitted themselves to a mandatory drug test to a Department of Health (DOH) authorized and accredited drug testing laboratory in Koronadal City. The test is in compliance to the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 13, series of 2017 issued by the Civil Service Commission to conduct random mandatory drug test to public officials and employees. As a result, all the 54 tested employees passed and found free of dangerous drug use.