Envi Group calls on local government to reconsider mining operations in Davao Oriental City – Manila Bulletin

DAVAO CITY – The environmental group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) urges the local government of Banaybanay in Davao Oriental and relevant agencies to consider the negative impact of large-scale mining operations following “siltation and discoloration reported the rivers last week.

While welcoming the temporary suspension of mining operations, IDIS Executive Director Atty. Mark Peñalver said they fear the incident will happen as the closure is only temporary.

Discolored Mapagba River at Barangay Maputi, Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. (Photo courtesy of Emelyn Q. Morillo/Manila Bulletin)

“Therefore, should there be any shortcomings in the implementation of their corrective or mitigating actions, we would expect the same incident in the future. In the first place, this should not have happened if whether the company had strictly observed the provisions of its ECC or whether it had carried out a proper EIA,” he pointed out.

On January 17, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 11 today issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO), Notice of Violation (NOV) and Show Cause to Riverbend Consolidated Mining Corporation and Arc Nickel Resources, Inc. (ANRI) in the coastal town of Banaybanay.

“The potential source of siltation and discoloration along said rivers has been attributed to the active mining activity of said company – based on the initial investigation and assessment by the composite DENR-XI team of the Regional Office of DENR-XI, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-XI), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-XI) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Bureau (CENRO) Lupon which was conducted on January 15 last,” reads the statement from the DENR Davao region posted on its Facebook account.

DENR The Davao region blamed the heavy rains for more than 12 hours that led to the discoloration of the Mapagba and Pinatatagan rivers in Banaybanay on January 13.

He added that the heavy and continuous rains of last January 13 and 14 caused the silt basin to overflow and drain it to the rivers.

DENR Davao Region Chief Bagani Fidel Evasco said his legal team was also assessing other measures regarding any violations as he assured there would be strict enforcement of environmental laws against the wandering mining company.

On January 14, residents of Banaybanay, especially those living along the affected rivers, posted photos on social media of the rust-colored rivers flowing into the Gulf of Davao.

As the photos went viral, locals voiced their opposition to mining operations in the coastal town, fearing the negative impact on the environment and livelihoods.

“We have seen how devastating the effects of mining are in the region and how the community opposes said activity. We hope that the relevant agencies take this into account in the conduct of their investigation and stop this disastrous activity to operate and put the lives of people and the environment at risk,” Peñalver said in reaction to the viral photos of the affected rivers.