BK strengthens capacity of CSOs in Dinagat Islands towards transparency in the extractive industries
Dinagat Islands, an island-province with a land area of about 1000 square kilometers, is host to 9 metallic mining operations operated by 8 mining companies. The island was declared a mining reservation in 1939 and since then the island has been host to mining operations. Bantay Kita saw an opportunity to increase the capacity of civil society organizations in the island especially in monitoring the extractive industry and various development projects in the island.
Bantay Kita, represented by BK Mindanao Subnational Coordinator Beverly Besmanos, conducted a 3-day seminar-workshop from July 27-30, 2015 at the municipality of Loreto in Dinagat Island. The event was attended by a total of 47 participants coming from civil society organizations and local government. It was co-organized with the PhilGrassroots-ERDF, a local NGO based in San Jose, Dinagat Islands.
The activity aimed to discuss issues on the lack of participation of the locals in the monitoring of development projects particularly those that are sponsored by the mining companies. The project also served as a platform to introduce EITI, Bantay Kita subnational initiatives, and natural resource governance under the human-rights based approach.
Community participants were oriented on Bantay Kita’s Checklist in Monitoring the Environmental Impacts of Mining Operations and various systematic procedures and community-based monitoring templates needed to effectively monitor the extractive industries and development projects in the province.
The forum during the third day noted the adverse impact of the mining operations on the people’s livelihood as indicated by the decreasing fish catch, dying coconut trees, and continuing siltation of rivers and coastal areas. The issue of lack of data and monitoring of social development and management programs (SDMPs) sponsored by mining companies was also raised.
By the end of the workshop-seminar, a CSO team with an interim council was established to continue the monitoring of the extractive industries and facilitate the future formation of a multi-stakeholders’ group (MSG). Bantay Kita is keen on conducting a case study on the impacts of nickel-chromite mining in Dinagat and in establishing a formal partnership with the DENR-MGB CARAGA to enhance the information exchange mechanism.