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While the mining industry in the region has been the object of criticism by anti-mining groups, the birth of ARMOR-8 has earned the appreciation and support of all those who particularly feel the need to organize one solid group that will at least help restore people’s faith in mining.
ARMOR-8, the brainchild of MGB Regional Director Roger de Dios is but one bold step to achieving the pursuit to the great clamor for responsible mining in Eastern Visayas.
It is a fact that the mining industry faces the most challenges in the industrial sector and that it is often misunderstood because of the negative impacts of mining to the environment and host communities. Unfortunately, this has been the stigma of the mining industry, spurred by the mistakes of the past andanti-mining sentiments from varied groups such as the NGOs, church, academe, LGUs and media.
“I believe it’s high time that the mining companies collectively join forces in taking our stand to promote a strong mining industry in the region,” says RD de Dios. As originally planned the organization of ARMOR-8 was intended to support MGB-8’s IEC campaign in advocating responsible mining in the region. A Memorandum of Understanding entered into by MGB-8 RD Roger de Dios and ARMOR-8 President highlighted the launching activity last August 10, .
Finding strength in unity, the group seeks not just to strengthen the mining industry but to advocate responsible mining and foster sustainable development to host and neighboring communities. It will be done through extensive Information Education and Communication (IEC) program, partnership and networking, capacity building and lobbying. Just recently, on August 14, the group entered into an agreement with the Media Alliance for Responsible Mining in Eastern Visayas to further intensify its IEC.
Over time, the group hopes to rightfully serve its purpose – the region’s protection against illegal miners. ARMOR-8 will be a prime mover in advocating not only the disadvantages of illegal mining but also in educating the public and its stakeholders the importance of environmental protection and community development. The group believes in the importance of responsible and sustainable mining as the key for revitalization of the mining industry in the country.
ARMOR-8 develops its dedication for responsible mining under the following principles which include safety, environmental gears, transparency and accountability, social equity and sustainable development as bases for the establishment of responsible mining in the region. Hence, ARMOR-8 promotes sustainable development in the implementation of SDMP, not just as compliance but as part of their social responsibility.
With its certificate of incorporation approved last June 8, by the SEC, one of the organization’s programs is to institute and implement scholarships for deserving students and employees’ dependents in the host communities where their mining companies operate.
Time being, ARMOR-8 President Vicente Lao advocated the implementation of the Community Livelihood and Mining Program (CLAMP), the idea of allowing small scale miners within a portion of their approved tenement areas as livelihood but under the supervision of large-scale mining operators.
The group also stressed the importance of establishing pocket forests within their respective mining claims. A flagship project which aims to create success stories and showcase tangible evidence that will inevitably prove that mining and environmental protection can coexist.
Over and beyond, ARMOR-8 is nothing short of a perfect shield for responsible mining advocates as it also intends to provide something better: a sense of place, an appreciation of the mining industry, sustainable development and a hope for the future.