Many mining tunnels in Compostela Valley were left empty on Monday as hundreds of small-scale miners joined the State of the Nation Address protests in Davao City to criticize the alleged failure of the Aquino administration to provide substantial support to the country’s local mining industry.

The small-scale miners asserted that the “daang matuwid” promise of the administration was not felt in the community as it favored foreign large-scale mining corporations instead of providing assistance for the local miners.

Aquino’s new mining executive order would also further strengthen the domination of foreign companies in the exploration and extraction of mineral resources in the country, the small-scale miners said.

Rogelio Simbajon, a small-scale miner who is working in the tunnels for more than 30 years in the gold rush community of Gumayan in the town of in Compostela Valley said that Aquino in his SONA have only mentioned revenue collection from mining.

Aquino said that out of the P145 billion total income derived from the mining operations in the country, only P13.4 billion went to the government.

“But Aquino have not mentioned anything about any plans or programs to support and improve the local mining industry,” Simbajon said.

The small-scale miners also criticized the mining policy of Aquino for limiting the operations to the “minahang bayan”.

“The government wanted our operations limited to the minahang bayan, which is just a small piece of land compared to the thousands of hectares given to foreign corporations. Why is the government taking side with these foreigners and big corporations while turning a blind eye on its constituents who are poor and hungry?” remarked Simbajon.

Citing the case of the mining tenement in Panganason, Pantukan, the protesting small-scale miners said that only 81 hectares were declared as “minahang bayan” while 1,656 hectares were approved for the mining claim awarded to the National Development Corporation.

Expressing the fear of the small-scale mining community, Simbajon said that deputizing government troops to protect big mining companies would worsen the confusion and conflict in the area.

He added that these military forces would be utilized to expel the mining tenements established by small-scale miners to make way for the entry of foreign corporations.

“Sooner or later, these soldiers deployed in our area would be used to evict us from our lands,” Simbajon said.

The miners also cried foul over the ban in the use of mercury on mining operations as stipulated by the government’s new mining policy.

“It’s a trap. They wanted us off the land that is why they wanted to declare our operations illegal,” said Gil Aguilar Jr, a small-scale miner from Panganason, Pantukan.

Mercury was banned by the government for its harmful effects to the health of the people living in the mining communities and to the environment.

However, the miners said that mercury is the easiest and cheapest chemical agent in extracting gold from the ores.

“Yes, we know that there are detrimental effects by using mercury but this is the only method that we know and that is accessible. If the government wanted to change this practice then they should send people to provide technical services to us instead of yacking as if Aquino knows the real condition of the miners,” Aquilar said.

The small-scale miners claimed that the new mining policy and the existing mining laws are failures because it failed in providing assistance and development for the small-scale miners and the mining communities.


As the new mining policy of the Aquino administration sparked debates and garnered comments from both pro and anti-mining advocates, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said that the city is resolute in its position against mining.

Duterte, despite admitting that she still have to read the full text of the Executive Order 79, remarked that she would continue to implement the ban on mining activities in Davao.

“With regard to metal mining, including gold, nickel and copper, its an absolute no in Davao City,” Duterte said.

She added that with a bill currently filed in the House of Representatives seeking a legislation of a policy banning mining in Davao at the level of the national government, the advocacy to protect the environment from the harmful effects of mining must be pushed.

The bill authored by Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab is currently on its 2nd reading in congress.

Vice-mayor Rodrigo Duterte said that the new mining policy would not be effectual in Davao.

He agreed on Aquino’s premise over the superiority of national policies over the decisions and ordinances of the local government, but he asserted that he would never allow mining activities in the city.

Guidelines on the Ban of Non-Biodegradable Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Foam

Rules V and VI of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009

Rule V. Reduction of Use of Non-Biodegradable and Single-Use Plastic Bags

Section 8. Use of Recyclable, Reusable and Biodegradable Checkout Bags and Containers. All stores, as well as, ambulant vendors in Davao City shall sell or provide only the following as checkout bags or containers to customers:
Recycled or recyclable paper bags;
Biodegradable plastic bags;
Reusable bags, such as cloth bags;
Bags made of indigenous materials, such as buri, abaca, anahaw, bamboo and pineapple; or
Used corrugated boxes or cartons.

Biodegradable plastic bags must be properly disposed like any other solid waste material and should not be thrown in canals, water bodies, vacant lots and other public places.

This section shall be fully implemented on June 28, 2012 to give ample time to stores to make the necessary transition.

Section 9. Individual Participation. Shoppers or customers in all stores in Davao City are encouraged to provide for themselves reusable and recyclable shopping bags such as those enumerated in Section 8, when shopping or buying from stores. They are also encouraged to refuse a checkout bag from the store when buying small items (like a CD, candy, etc.) that do not require a bag.

Rule VI. Ban of Non-Bio Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Foam as Food Containers

Section 10. Ban of Non-Biodegradable Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Foam as Food Containers. Only recyclable, biodegradable or reusable containers are allowed to be used as a food and beverage containers.

The food and packaging industry are encouraged to develop more environmentally-friendly containers as substitutes for polystyrene food containers.

The use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foam as food and beverage container shall be completely banned in Davao City starting June 28, 2012.


1st offense – fine of P300 and must attend the orientation seminar on solid waste management to be conducted by City Enro
2nd offense – fine of P500 or community service for 5 days
3rd offense – fine of P1,000 or community service for 10 days
4th and succeeding violations shall be prosecuted directly in court.

For more information, kindly contact the Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) at (082) 227-2655 or 244-0094.

(Source: Davao City government)

A magnitude 5.5 quake jolted the Southern Mindanao area on Friday morning, the US Geological Survey said.

In its bulletin, the USGS said that the earthquake was recorded at 9:14 in the morning.

With a depth of 69.4 kilometers, the epicenter was located at 152 kilometers from General Santos City and 185 kilometers from Davao City.

There are no initial reports of casualties and damages from the incident.

photo grabbed from USGS




Magnitude 5.9
  • Friday, March 16, 2012 at 07:58:06 UTC
  • Friday, March 16, 2012 at 03:58:06 PM at epicenter
Location 9.995°N, 125.600°E
Depth 44.3 km (27.5 miles)
Distances 25 km (15 miles) NNE of Surigao, Mindanao, Philippines
115 km (71 miles) N of Butuan, Mindanao, Philippines
116 km (72 miles) S of Guiuan, Samar, Philippines
716 km (444 miles) SE of MANILA, Philippines
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 15.7 km (9.8 miles); depth +/- 8.3 km (5.2 miles)
Parameters NST=203, Nph=206, Dmin=323.9 km, Rmss=0.86 sec, Gp= 47°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID usb0008i6m


Source: US Geological Survey