DENR orders MGB to intensify safety measures in mining operations

On order of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje directed the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to intensify environment and safety measures in mining operations throughout the country to minimize, if not to prevent, mining accidents. 

“I have directed the Mines Bureau and all its regional offices to make sure that mining companies religiously observe safety measures in their mining operations to prevent loss of lives and property, as well minimize adverse impacts on environment,” Paje said.

Paje’s directive came on the heels of landslides following heavy rains that occurred recently in a mountain village in Tampakan town in South Cotabato, where three small-scale miners were reportedly trapped in the mine tunnels that collapsed as a result of the landslides.

The victims were allegedly involved in sluice mining or banlas.  Sluice mining is a method of mining that involves the pouring of large amounts of water to wash off the mountain’s surface and expose the rocks that contain the gold ore to be extracted, according to the report.

“We will continue to experience the effect of La Nina so that even with the onset of summer, heavy rains are expected in some parts of the country.  With all the earthquakes occurring lately, we have to ensure that companies give priority to safety measures in their operations,” Paje said.

According to Paje, the DENR has long set strict safety rules and regulations on large-scale mining operation embodied in DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-98.  “This order specifically provides for the mine safety and health standards in mining operations.  It also provides for the creation of a multi-partite monitoring team composed of representatives from the MGB, concerned local government units, the operating mining company, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and other concerned agencies and entities, tasked to regularly conduct inspection to check on environment and safety measures in the mines site.

Mining projects are likewise mandated to employ at least one full time safety engineer and safety inspector to oversee the implementation of safety measures in the mines site, Paje added.

DENR sets deadline for National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools on April 29

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced the deadline for submission of entries for schools participating in the 2011 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools on April 29, 2011.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje urged schools to start submitting their eco-friendly programs to qualify. “We hope more schools will participate and take part in heightening environmental awareness among our youth,” Paje said. 

Launched in 2009, the competition generated positive responses from various schools and this paved the way for the next wave of the competition this year.

The nationwide contest dubbed, “National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools,” was organized to highlight the commitments of schools in implementing various environmental programs. Open to all elementary, high school and tertiary school levels, the activity aims to encourage schools and academic institutions to become more actively involved in environmental issues at a practical and local level. It also aims to develop skills and understanding among students, faculty and school administrators to initiate active responses and increase community awareness and involvement on environmental concerns.

A total of nine schools were declared as national champs for the 2009 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools. For the elementary category, the winners were: First prize - Peñablanca East Central School, Aggugaddan-Malibabag, Peñablanca, Cagayan; Second prize - North Central Elementary School, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City, Pangasinan; and Third prize - Badas Elementary School, Badas, Placer, Surigao del Norte.

For the high school category, the winners were: First place - La Castellana National High School, La Castellana, Negros Occidental; Second place - Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City, Camarines Sur; and Third place- Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina, Davao City.

For the college category, topping the list were: First place – Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Second place – Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte; and Third place – Catanduanes State Colleges , Virac, Catanduanes.

The national search is a joint activity of the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Smart Communications. 

Smart Communications joins the activity as part of its own environment advocacy for schools. “We are happy to partner with the DENR and other agencies for this nationwide search. This activity will encourage schools to promote environmental consciousness among the youth,” said Ramon Isberto, head of Smart Public Affairs . 

Specifically, the participating schools are required to fill up their on-line entry at the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly School website at http://www.sustainableschools.ph and submit their entries in three (3) hard copies. 

School entries should revolve around the theme, Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Initiatives.  Participating schools should include a brief description of their projects.

Entries will be rated according to the following:  environment-related aspects of the school’s policy (20 pts); environment-friendly school operations and presence of environmental programs (30 pts); environment-related features of the school curriculum (30 pts); presence of vibrant eco organizations in campus (10 pts); and presence of partners and linkages in environment programs/projects (10 pts). 

Only one entry per school will be accepted.  

For the national level, prizes for all categories include: P50,000 - 1st Prize; P40,000 - 2nd Prize; P30,000 - 3rd Prize and plaques of recognition. 

For the regional level, a certificate of recognition and a prize of P10,000 (in cheque) will be given to regional finalists for each category.

All winning entries for each of the three categories, together with selected entries will be displayed during the national awarding ceremonies in November 2011, coinciding with the National Environmental Awareness Month celebration.

For further details, please contact the Environmental Education and Information Division of the Environmental Management Bureau-DENR. Telefax: (02) 9284674. or Tel. No. 9202251  Website: www.emb.gov.ph or www.sustainableschools.ph.

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