September 28, 2022 (7:52 PM)

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ILLEGAL MINING. Rudolph Espe (PSAC-SLRDM), Onesimo Sungahid (MAFC), and Primo Solis (MMSAID), expressed their sentiments to DENR and LGUs concerning the illegal mining activities in Davao Oriental at the Pakighinabi Room, 3rd Floor CCFC Building, September 27. Photo by Denyz Zaira Persigas

“LGU talaga ‘yung problema,” multi-sectoral alliances slammed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Local Government Units (LGUs) for poorly responding to the calls on illegal mining activities in Davao Oriental in an open forum discussion. 

Macambol Multi-Sectoral Alliance for Integral Development Banaybanay (MMSAID), Parish Social Action Center Banaybanay (PSAC-SLRDM), and Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council Banaybanay (MAFC) represented the communities in Davao Oriental affected by the mining activities in the “Panalinga DavOr: What is happening in Banaybanay and Macambol?” 

Rudolph Espe (PSAC-SLRDM), Onesimo Sungahid (MAFC), and Primo Solis (MMSAID) openly expressed their concerns about the overexploitation of mining companies to Mt. Hamiguitan and Pujada Bay—both supposedly protected under World United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Heretiga. 

“How come na ang isang baranggay, local government unit, magissue ngayon ng resolution without ever the consensus of the general public? Wala eh,” Espe questioned and condemned LGUs after receiving reprimanded feedback.

Sungahid and Espe also targeted DENR after denying the appearance of several watersheds within some areas of Mahayag where Zetosa Mining operates.

“Sila mismo ang gadaot, mudestroy sa kahoy, ang DENR,” Sungahid said, further urging DENR officers to ban the issuance of cutting or destruction permits of second growth forests 90 hectares away from mining operation areas. 

Meanwhile, representatives from the other party focused their responses on job employment in the mining industry, diverting attention from the criticisms raised by the local groups.

“If we cannot provide livelihood, sa atong mga kaigsuonan, I do now know how to solve this problem,” a provincial agriculturist from the Department of Agriculture, Edito B. Sumile said. 

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Assistant to the President for Advocacy & Legal Affairs Atty. Romeo Cabarde countered this statement, saying there are many remaining opportunities available in different industries than mining. 

“I think there are a lot of opportunities, sa ecotourism palang daan, sa Ecotourism industry, sa agricultural industry, we have a lot of potential sources of income.”

He also questioned Sumile if these duties and issues on job opportunities should supposedly be answered by government agencies instead.

In response, City Environment & Natural Resources Office Region XI, Mati representative Zaldy L. Lumaan highlighted some DENR projects within Banaybanay and Macambol.

“Kanunay taga tuig, taga quarter, nagaconduct ta og kanang communication, education, and public awareness. And diha sa Macambol area, gi per purok by purok ra nato na aron maimbitar nato ng tanan sektor sa community,” he said.

He further encouraged communities in the discussions to engage more in DENR’s information drives. 

It has been a year since the issue of open-pit mining in Davao Oriental hit the bricks on social media after posts of siltation incidents or ‘orangey’ waters emerging in the rivers of Banaybanay made rounds online.

Previously, the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) also called out the government to cease mining operations, as well as Ecoteneo, Mindanawon, and the Tropical Institute of Climate Studies (TropICS) last May.

“Panalinga DavOr: What is happening in Banaybanay and Macambol”? is an open forum hosted by AdDU, Ecoteneo, ADDU Institutional Communications, and Promotions Office (iCOMMP), University Community Engagement and Advocacy (UCEAC), and Sentrong Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center (APILA). 

The event was live streamed on AdDU’s Facebook page and was hosted onsite at Pakighinabi Hall 3F, CCFC building.



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