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The SoCot board of directors has convened a meeting to discuss modifications to the open-pit mining ban.

CITY OF KORONADAL – On February 18, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) will hold a public hearing on proposed revisions to the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato, specifically the provision easing the ban on open-pit mining in Tampakan.

Vice Governor Vicente De Jesus, the presiding officer of the SP, said in a statement Thursday that they have invited all of the province’s mayors, former board members who drafted the ordinance, business and youth sectors, farmers, professionals, and other sectoral representatives to the celebration.

Members of the provincial board have unanimously decided to hold a public hearing before deciding on modifications, according to De Jesus.

“The goal is to promote awareness of the issue and assist board members in deciding whether to vote yes or no,” De Jesus explained.

“Hopefully, we will hear not just the public’s sentiments, but also critical technical knowledge that will assist the board in making a decision,” he added.

De Jesus also invites inhabitants from other towns to attend a public hearing on the ordinance on February 24 at the South Cotabato Sports Complex in Koronadal City.

“We can’t have public hearings in all ten municipalities in the province due to funding concerns,” he explained.

On June 9, 2010, the Province of South Cotabato enacted Ordinance 04, Series of 2010, titled “An Ordinance Providing for the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato.”

The validity of Section 22(b) of Ordinance No. 04 Series of 2010, or “The South Cotabato Environment Code,” was affirmed by the SP in 2015 through a resolution titled “A Resolution Affirming the Validity of Section 22(b) of Ordinance No. 04 Series of 2010,” or “The South Cotabato Environment Code,” which was approved on June 30, 2015.

The open-pit mining restriction in South Cotabato, according to pro-mining groups, has delayed the construction of the Tampakan copper and gold mine project, which is billed as Southeast Asia’s largest.

The project has been pursued by Tampakan-based Sagittarius Mines Inc. for several years.

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