(Palawan News file photo)

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is supporting the proposal to hold a mining industry summit in Palawan, as called for by Governor Dennis Socrates in 2024.

Board Member Ryan Maminta stated in Resolution No. 1474-23, which was approved during the regular session on Tuesday, November 21, that the proposal was made by Gov. Socrates during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on October 3, with the summit scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

“If we will recall, Gov. [Victorino Dennis M. Socrates] stated in his SOPA that a mining summit be held in order to discuss matters regarding everything about mining industry in the province of Palawan, and to bring together stakeholders, including government officials, industry experts, environmentalists, local communities and IPs to engage in a constructive dialog on the future of mining sector in Palawan,” Maminta said.

“This is to express support and I think it is a necessary undertaking in the early part of 2024 to once and for all, try to resolve everything about this industry in the province,” he added.

Maminta said that through the summit, the provincial government will be able to craft policies needed to address mining issues and to have a unified direction and voice in policymaking.

Board Member Rafael Ortega Jr. also stated that in support of the summit, a resolution was passed requesting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct a study and submit scientific data regarding the carrying capacity of the province in relation to the mining industry.

“I would like to request that this data be submitted during or before the summit which can also be used as basis for policy making and other related purposes,” Ortega said.

“And I am hoping that with the result of this study, we will have a concrete basis whether or not, we will still allow more mining industry in the province,” he added.

Furthermore, he stated that he will propose another study to be conducted by an independent body to provide a system of checks and balances.

“Because when I asked the PCSD (Palawan Council for Sustainable Development) if the mining area in Palawan is already alarming, they said it is not because the area is not even one percent of the province’ land area,” he stated.

“But we are also considering other aspects like Palawan being the last ecological frontier and the ecotourism industry might be affected,” he said.

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