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Mining companies join forces with DENR in combating forest fires

Officials of DENR-CAR and major mining companies in Benguet sign a memorandum of agreement strengthening forest fire prevention and suppression activities, on March 27, 2024.(BSU interns)

BAGUIO CITY (PIA) -- Collective efforts to combat forest fires in the Cordillera region are strengthened with the inclusion of mining companies operating in Benguet.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Director Paquito Moreno, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Fay Apil inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with representatives of the Benguet Corporation, the Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc., the Philex Mining Corporation, and the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation on March 27, 2024.

Under the agreement, the DENR shall provide information and education campaigns about forest fires – the causes, effects, and prevention -- in all localities, and conduct fire prevention activities. It shall also coordinate efforts with the mining companies to prevent and suppress forest fires, and conduct capacitation activities in relation to forest fires.

Meanwhile, the mining companies shall respond to the request of the DENR-CAR for assistance in forest fire prevention, and suppression activities, and strengthen fire prevention activities including provision of appropriate personal protective equipment during response operations.

Apil said fire prevention and forest protection are already being done by these companies within their jurisdiction, but this can be expanded.

“Nandiyan sa annual EPEP (Environment Protection and Enhancement Program) natin ang fire prevention and forest protection, but more within the jurisdiction natin. This time, puwedeng mag-extend na,” Apil said.

Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgardo Flor emphasized the need for collective action in combating forest fires. 

"We need all the help as far as forest fires are concerned. We hope that we could collaborate in preventing these forest fires from increasing,” he said.

Representatives of the mining companies expressed their commitment for the endeavor.

“Our safety department, our safety engineers will actually do the actual work and planning on how to unify the actions of the mining companies to help out DENR on the response towards forest fire. So, with the leadership of the DENR and the MGB, we look forward to the next steps in operationalizing fire actions in the environment,” Itogon-Suyoc Resources Incorporated resident manager Eric Andal said.

As of March 18, the Bureau of Fire Protection recorded 113 forest fire incidents in Cordillera, with Benguet having the most cases with 58. (JDP/DEG-PIA CAR with Johan Mae Galati, BSU Intern)

About the Author

Jamie Joie Malingan

Regional Editor

Cordillera Administrative Region

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