Diwalwal official questions 8-year gov’t control of mine site

Jul. 01, 2010

DAVAO CITY—Mt. Diwata barangay (village) captain Franco Tito questions the eight-year government control on the gold-rich village in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

In a recent episode of weekly press conference Kapehan sa SM, Tito said that the government’s plan of developing the mining area is not the real desire after all, since the government decided to sell most of the area to private multi-national companies.

“More than half of the mining area is now in the hands of the multinational firms,” Tito bared.

Initially scheduled last June 7, The Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PMDC) has planned to open the bidding of the “below 600 meter area” of the 729-hectare gold site. The small-scale miners are meanwhile operating on the “above 600 meter area.”

However, it didn’t push through as the national government moved the schedule to July 30 instead after hearing the clamor of small-scale miners expressing their rage against the sale of more areas in the site.

At least nine big mining companies have expressed interest in exploring and developing the Mt. Diwalwal mining area. The PMDC has set a minimum bid price of 300 million pesos and, under the contract, the state will retain a five-percent royalty on the gross profit from the mine.

Tito said that it is not true that small-scale miners do not have the capability of developing the mining site, as the major argument of the PMDC in allowing big-scale mining companies to develop some part of the mining area.

“Before multi-national companies came in, small scale miners were already here. And I can name so many small-scale miners who have lifted their economic status because of Mt.Diwata,” he said.

Tito cited the Uys of Tagum City and Compostela Valley, the Zamoras of Compostela, and many other families to have obviously progressed because of mining.

He stressed that there are so many small-scale miners who have been robbed by the opportunity of benefiting from the area because of the entry of big-scale mining. (PIA)

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