Bayog Municipal Board’s Firm Resolve On Upcoming TVIRD Mining Operations in Balabag

07/03/2017



Board Members sign updated resolution of support for TVIRD to develop gold and silver resources under its Balabag Gold and Silver Project

Manila, The Philippines / July 2017 - In anticipation of widespread development for both their town and their constituents, members of the Municipal Board (Sangguniang Bayan or SB) of Bayog – under the leadership of Mayor Leonardo L. Babasa Jr. – renewed their firm resolve and unyielding support to bring the Balabag Gold and Silver Project on-stream under the operations of MPSA holder, TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD).

The SB expressed their support anew via Resolution No. 1330, S. 2017 which cites potential revenues for the municipality upon the development of gold and silver deposits in Barangays Dipili, Depore, Pulangbato and Dimalinao to be harnessed by the company.  It further cites “the potential advantage that infrastructure projects might be introduced in the course of (the project).”

As early as 2014, key TVIRD officers detailed its responsible approach to mining during the 61st Regular Session of the Bayog SB – to which the board acknowledged that it is “overwhelmingly convinced that it (TVIRD) has a vision to make Bayog an abundant, developed and progressive place.”

Drawing from the company’s successful Canatuan Copper and Gold Project as well as progressive pre-development work in Bayog, Mayor Babasa gave his vote of confidence, saying that TVIRD has “taken meaningful strides in supporting the unification of the indigenous (Subanen) people in Bayog as well as fostered the development of both tribal and non-tribal constituents.”

Upcoming operations

TVIRD holds the Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of the Balabag Project and has obtained both its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF) from the DENR in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

While fulfilling all legal requirements, the company likewise secured its “social license to operate” from the collective Subanen tribe in Bayog represented by Timuays (Chieftains) Casiano L. Edal and Lucenio M. Manda along with 33 other chiefs.  The tribe expressly urged “the agencies of the government concerned on mining operation to facilitate the immediate commencement of TVIRD’s mining operation in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore in the Municipality of Bayog.”

The tribe also cited enormous opportunities for progress that the company’s upcoming operations will bring and the urgency with which they endorse the project to begin “in order to bring forth social and economic development to communities, especially to the Subanen Tribe.”

NO” to illegal mining

Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Governor Antonio Cerilles expressed in a symposium early this year that he is optimistic that TVIRD will deliver its commitment to safeguard the environment as it brings its operations on-stream in the area.

The political will of Gov. Cerilles made the implementation of a Cease and Desist Order possible in October 2012 – which permanently stopped illegal mining operations in Sitio Balabag.  Together with the task force composed of government law enforcement agencies, the CDO was peacefully implemented in the area.  Responsible and properly-regulated mining found renewed support from top provincial and town officials after the Governor declared his support for the local extractive industry as long it complies with government regulations.

Cerilles also reiterated his position that mining should be responsible and must pass the necessary government requirements before being allowed to operate.  He cited that TVIRD is one of the mining companies that follows and observes the principles of responsible mining.

Cerilles, who served as DENR Secretary during the Estrada administration, pointed out that what destroys the environment and pollutes the waters are the illegal small-scale miners whose operations are not strictly regulated by the government.

Never again

“Our regulatory bodies failed to control the destructive and reckless activities of the illegal miners in Bayog since the early 80’s.  They destroyed our mountains, farms, rivers and seas until they were effectively stopped by Gov. Cerilles,” said the 75-year old Timuay Edal.

“We’ve been there,” he said in strong opposition to illegal small scale mining.  “We condemn and strongly oppose it not only because it destroyed our lands and environment as a whole, but because it has brought so much injustice and trouble to Bayog.

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