Tag Archives: local government

Zamboanga del Norte considering ban on open-pit mining

BY DARWIN T. WEE, Correspondent
BusinessWorld Online
January 24, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Zamboanga del Norte could be the next province to ban open-pit mining.

In a draft measure, Zamboanga del Norte’s provincial board cited the adverse effect of open-pit mining on the environment and the meager share that the provincial government gets from mining taxes. It did not say how much it wanted to get.

If the province were to approve the measure, it will be the second to ban this mining method after South Cotabato. The latter, which approved its ban at the end of June last year, is now hearing arguments of opposing sides in this issue.

Another province, Romblon, ordered last Jan. 10 an indefinite moratorium on the exploration, excavation and utilization of metallic minerals until all concerns are addressed.

“One of the reasons why we are proposing this ordinance is the issue of share distribution,” Michael Allan Z. Ranillo, a member of the provincial board, said in an interview yesterday.

He also described open-pit mining as a “destructive” method that denudes forests.

Mr. Ranillo, who is one of the authors of the ordinance, entitled: “Protecting and conserving the integrity of the land and water resources,” said that the board also expects to clash with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which had earlier ordered South Cotabato to suspend the implementation of its ban until a review is completed.

South Cotabato had said it would defy the department, arguing that local governments have autonomy to enact and enforce laws governing their constituents and areas under their jurisdiction.

“We, the local government unit, have all the right to protect our natural resources, which are being raped by mining companies,” Mr. Ranillo said.

The provincial government of Zamboanga del Norte yesterday held its first public hearing on the ordinance, which was attended by representatives of mining firms, business groups, indigenous peoples, and religious groups.

At least two big mining firms are operating in Zamboanga del Norte: the Canadian-backed TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc. and Philex Mining Corp., which are into extracting gold, silver, copper, and zinc.

Mr. Ranillo noted that TVI, which is one the first mining firms that were attracted by Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act in 1995, uses open-pit mining at its Canatuan mining site in the town of Siocon.

In a statement yesterday, TVI defended the use of the open-pit mining method.

“The fears on open-pit mining as reflected in the proposed ordinance, we wish to respectfully reiterate, is unfounded. This mining method is dictated by comprehensive studies that consider the configuration of the deposit and the geological features of the region,” the statement quoted Rene P. Subido, TVI’s vice-president for corporate social commitments, as saying during the public hearing.

“We believe that The Philippine Mining Act satisfactorily provides a framework for ensuring that the country gains the maximum benefits from the development of our mineral resources without compromising our environmental integrity,” he added.

One of the measures to assure protection of the environment, he said, is the “institutionalization of the Multi-Partite Monitoring Team” that regularly checks the mining firms’ compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

“Local government units of Zamboanga del Norte…are amply represented in the Canatuan Multi-Partite Monitoring Team. We believe this is an area where the province can strengthen its oversight and monitoring functions and, we submit, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan may wish to consider including [such strengthened functions] in an ordinance in lieu of an outright ban on open-pit mining,” Mr. Subido argued.

He also warned that the passage of the proposed ordinance in its present form will have enormous implications for Zamboanga del Norte. “If such legislation is passed, it will bring misery to hundreds of families who depend on legitimate large-scale mining for livelihood because they will lose their jobs or their businesses,” he said.

Michael M. Malacca, the president of the Dipolog business chamber, said the proposed ordinance is “business-unfriendly” and warned that Zamboanga del Norte, which is considered one of the poorest provinces of the country, will lose millions in tax collections and prospective investments if the ordinance were passed.

“Mining is an extractive industry and, by its very nature, has direct and indirect impact on the environment, whether it is open-pit, tunnel or any other mining method. These impacts, however, are known and can be mitigated. Environmental planning and rehabilitation are keys that the Philippine Mining Act has prescribed,” Edwin B. Capili, Philippine Chamber of Commerce vice-president for southwestern Mindanao, said.

He also noted that TVI had paid excise taxes totaling P205 million in 2003-2010. Some 40% of that amount, or about P82 million, had gone to local governments hosting the project, as required by law.

Mr. Ranillo said the provincial government will hold two more hearings before it decides on the ordinance. “It could be in April or May,” he said, when Zamboanga del Norte would make its decision.

Kadayawan: Mindanao’s festival of all festivals

Manila Bulletin
August 21, 2010

It all started in the 1970s when then Mayor Elias B. Lopez initiated tribal festivals featuring the lumad (native) and the Muslim tribes of Davao City where they showcase their dances and rituals of thanksgiving.  Lopez himself was from a Bagobo tribe.

In 1986, the government initiated a program called “Unlad Proyekto Davao,” whose main objective was to unite the Dabawenyos after the turbulent Martial Law era.  The festivity was called Apo Duwaling, in honor of the three royalties for which Davao is famous for.

The word apo was taken from Mount Apo, the king of all mountains in the Philippines as it is the country’s tallest peak at 10,311 feet above sea level. Du came from durian, the king of tropical fruits which has been described as having a smell “like hell” but has a taste that can be compared to that of “heaven.”

The term waling was from waling-waling, the queen of orchids whose ethic term means “graceful movement of a butterfly in flight.”  They were once found only in the forests of Davao and Cotabato province.  It was discovered in Davao around 1880 by Carl Roebellin, a German plant enthusiast for the Orchid House of Sanders.

At that time, Apo Duwaling was meant to showcase Davao City as a peaceful destination for other people from all over the country to visit and to do business in. This was post-EDSA Revolution.

Two years later, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte renamed the festival as “Kadayawan sa Dabaw.” Kadayawan is derived from the friendly greeting Madayaw, a term taken from a Dabawenyo word dayaw which means “good,” “valuable,” “superior” or “something that brings good fortune.”

Mayor Duterte envisioned the festivity as a way to celebrate the bountiful harvest of Davao’s flowers, fruits, and other produce as well as the wealth of the city’s cultures. Today, the festival continues to honor the city’s richness and diverse artistic, cultural, and historical heritage in a grand celebration of thanksgiving for all of the city’s blessings.

In the early stage, ethnic tribes lived together harmoniously, in peace and friendship like the Bagobos, Mandayas, Manobos, Mansakas, T’boli, and others. They were the ones who gave the province a name; Davao came from the word daba-daba, which means fire.

According to history, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest. This ritual serves as their thanksgiving to the gods particularly to the Manama (the Supreme Being).

Various farming implements, fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice, and corn grains were displayed on mats as villagers give their respect and thanks for the year’s abundance. Singing, dancing, and offerings to their divine protectors were the highlights of this ritual.

Although times have changed, this practice of thanksgiving (pahinungod in local dialect) is still very much practiced by modern day Dabawenyos. This tradition flourished and evolved into an annual festival of thanksgiving.  And that’s how Kadayawan sa Dabaw came into existence.

Today, Kadayawan has transformed into a festival of festivals, with a number of spin-off festivals in the region. The festival honors Davao’s artistic, cultural, and historical heritage, its past personified by the ancestral lumads, its people as they celebrate on the streets, and its floral industry as its representatives parade in full regalia in thanksgiving for the blessings granted on the city.

Actually, the celebration interfaces three aspects: Tribal, industrial, arts and entertainment.  It is a week-long celebration which is highlighted by floral floats, street-dancing competitions, and exhibits that showcase the island’s tourism products and services.

The two big parades of the festival are often held during weekends.  The street dancing, called Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan, is done on Saturday while the floral float parade falls on Sunday.

The street dancing has two main components. The first is the street parade, where performers groove it up while parading along selected points of the city (at the streets of CM Recto, San Pedro, Pelayo, Bonifacio, Ponciano, and Roxas Avenue). The second is the showdown, where the very same people perform on the same venue, which has traditionally been San Pedro Street. The parade normally takes place in the morning, the showdown from the afternoon to evening.

One pundit puts it: “The Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan is wildly popular because of the distinctively Mindanaoan beat and costumes. Several tourists come to Davao to watch hundreds of people dancing with vigor in the streets, clad in their native attire and carrying extravagant props that would give Hollywood studios a serious run for their money.”

This year’s competition has only one category and is open to any group, organization, institutions, or communities. Participating Mindanao-based contingents must showcase the festival of their locality, while participating Davao City-based contingents must interpret the Kadayawan festival or Mindanao folklores, myths, or legends.

Criteria for judging are as follows: Main showdown, 70% (choreography and creativity, 25%; performance, 30%; musicality, 25%; and production design, 20%), and street performance, 30% (choreography and creativity, 25%; performance, 30%; musicality, 25%; and production design, 25%).

Prizes for the competition are as follows: Grand champion, P300,000; first runner-up, P200,000; second runner-up, P100,000; third runner-up P75,000; fourth runner-up, P50,000; and fifth runner-up P30,000.  Nine consolation prizes, at P10,000 each, will be given and five presentation awards and special awards for best in performance and best in costumes and parade to receive P50,000 each.

The floral float parade, called Pamulak Kadayawan, is a spectacular finale – patterned after the Pasadena Parade of Roses in the United States – where flowers and fruits are set in colorful floats by business establishments, community assemblies and peoples’ organizations as they promenade on the streets symbolizing all the bounty sustainably enjoyed by the city’s residents.  Want to see giant replicas of animals the size of a truck made up of nothing else but flowers? No problem. Go watch the parade and you will see one.

The competition is open to any person, group, organization, institution, or company. It has three categories, namely small (maximum size of 8 feet x 16 feet), big (over 8 feet x 16 feet) and alternative (use of miniature cars, golf carts, mini tractors, push carts, karo, kalesa, pedicabs or similar vehicles, motorized, mechanical, or animal driven).

The competing floral floats will be using at least 80% fresh flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables as medium, while non-competing entries are required to use at least 10%. Judging criteria are symbolism (20%), design (40%) and execution (40%). Prizes are as follows: big category (P500,000 for first, P300,000 for second, and P200,000 for third), small category (P300,000 for first, P200,000 for second, and P100,000 for third), and alternative category (P100,000 for first, P75,000 for second, and P50,000.00 for third).

If you have nothing to do this weekend, come to Davao.  Here’s what Dabawenyos will tell you about its festivity: “Kadayawan is an art form in itself, a festival perfectly fit for a local government that tries to position itself as the cultural capital of the Philippines. This is the best time to catch the sights, the sounds, the colors and the scents all mixing together to encapsulate the rich diversity of a place which was long ago described as the garden of the gods.”