(Speech delivered by Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy as Guest of Honor and Speaker on the 1st National Small-Scale Miners Summit at the Social Hall, Provincial Capitol, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley)
First, allow me to convey my sincerest appreciation and thanks you have chosen our province to host this first ever National Summit for the Presentation of the Proposed Amendment of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7076 and the 1st National Assembly of the Philippine National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners. Indeed, we are deeply honored and privileged.
You might have heard that President Duterte on April 17 of this year signed Republic Act 11297 or the law that renames our province, from Compostela Valley to Davao de Oro. The move to rename is part of our effort to associate our province to the greater Davao Region as we are the only province in Davao Region without Davao on its name. On the latter part of this year, we will conduct a plebiscite that will solicit our people’s sentiment on this name change.
Not only is this name about Davao but it also manifests the affinity of our province to gold, one of the most prized minerals in this world. The word “oro” is a Spanish word for ore or gold.
Drawing from historical records, the gold industry in Compostela Valley draws back since the pre-Spanish times. Historians reveal that Compostela Valley is the source of most golden ornaments or accessories word and transported through Butuan in Southeast Asia. Our province is a rich source of gold because it is situated in the Eastern Mineral Belt.
Our vast gold deposits are the reason why many people came to our province. The Hijo Mining Corporation ventured gold mining in Maco in the 1930’s and of course, who would forget the influx of people in the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation Area in the 1980’s, small-scale miners among the most dominant?
Undeniably, small-scale mining remains to be a major economic contributor in remote communities.
Gold became our province’s blessing but at the same time, it also has its own share of issues. Gold mining in most areas is associated with problems such as child labor, indiscriminate dumping of solid and mine wastes, siltation of rivers and creeks, contamination of potable water with mercury and cyanide, health issues and armed conflicts.