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Province of South Cotabato

Europe-based NGO commends South Cot’s mercury-free mining program

Visiting environmentalists from Dialogos, a Europe-based non-government organization (NGO) are planning to replicate the mercury-free mining advocacies and practices of South Cotabato to projects that they are currently undertaking in Uganda and other third world countries.

Nencita Acain, chief of the Provincial Environment Management Office – Mines and Geo-Sciences Division (PEMO-MGD) disclosed that the visitors, namely; Environment Planner Sofie Pedersen, Geology Student Asta Sekamane and Medical Student Johann Allerup, were impressed of the Small-Scale Mining (SSM) Program of the province particularly its Galing Pook-awardee Minahang Bayanihan Program during their learning visit last March 16 – 19.

“The visitors clearly stressed that the province’s SSM program is well-regulated and is focused on banning the use of mercury in artisanal mining especially in T’boli,” Acain added.

The 3 were accompanied by Eve Cubelo and Jimbea Lucino of Bantoxics!, a Davao City-based NGO which partnered with PEMO in advocating mercury-free mining on SSM community sites in T’boli, the recognized SSM area in the province.

A presentation earlier on the Provincial Local Action Plan on Mercury Reduction, Elimination and Storage was viewed by the group at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Conference Hall with SP Member Ellen Grace Subere –Albios, SP Committee on Health Chairperson, PEMO staff and Engr. Roger Tamayo of the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) in attendance.

Dialogos likewise visited the Office of T’boli Mayor Dibu Tuan and SSM communities at Barangay Kematu, where they were able to interact with women’s association leaders and made a brief stop at the Barangay Health Center.

They also experienced first-hand a field demonstration on mercury-free gold processing using borax as a substitute at a ball site located near the town and more interaction with women miners.

The 3-day visit culminated with a sharing and discussion session with Batang Bantay Toxics (Kids Against Toxics) where the group presented their organization, accomplishments and plans to the visitors.

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