Ebdane: Small-Scale Mining Beneficial
IBA, ZAMBALES - "While I may have chosen not to respond to the bait, I now choose to speak to you, my province-mates, because I am accountable to you."
This was the response by Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. after news articles and columns focused on the supposed irregularities happening in the small-scale mining sector in the province.
He said, "Small-scale mining contributes to the goal of a progressive Zambales. We have improved fiscal viability in our first year in office, mainly because we implemented the rules, especially in the mining sector."
In a recent State of the Province Address (SOPA), Ebdane said that the fees collected from the mining activities amounted to P43 million, almost triple of what was collected in the previous fiscal year.
According to Ebdane, small-scale mining contributes to the improvement of basic services for his constituents. He added that the fees collected for small-scale mining are shared with the community with 40 percent going to the barangay, 30 percent to the municipality, and 30 percent to the province.
"With the sharing of fees, the baranggays where small-scale mining activities are allowed receive a portion of the fees. These fees in turn can help in improving or upgrading basic facilities and services in the community," Ebdane said.
The authority to regulate small scale mining on the provincial level is bestowed on the governor under the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Section 42), Republic Act No 7076, and the Local Government Code of the Philippines (Section 17 and Section 465 [iv] and [v].
"We have followed the laws and the rules and regulations on small scale mining activities in issuing the corresponding permits. All the permits that have been issued under my leadership have complied with the legal requirements, as well as the environmental restriction," Ebdane said.
"In the interest of transparency, we have laid down the progression of events and circumstances for all to see," he said. …