Monday, August 18, 2008


SOLIDARITY RING. Governor Uy and Soledad"Nanay Soling" Duterte, mother of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during opening of the symbol of solidarity at Museo Dabawenyo as part of the Kakadayawan Festival of Davao City. Also seen in photo is at left Mt. Diwata, Monkayo barangay captain Franco Tito and at center, Davao City Hall chief of staff Patmei Ruivivar.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Governor Uy with ComVal capitol employees and the Solidarity Ring




ComVal’s Solidarity Ring
joins Kadayawan Festival

The now-famous Solidarity Ring, the symbol of Compostela Valley’s political unity, is joining Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival in a public display at the Museu Dabawenyo.
The 1.5-kilogram gold-and-silver toned ring---the biggest in the country---temporarily leaves its home at the lobby of the ComVal provincial capitol for viewing from August 1 to 24.
This is our contribution to the Kadayawan Festival, said Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy. Dabawenyos would be seeing the real thing this time after a replica drew large crowd when exhibited at the ComVal booth at the August 8-10 3rd Mindanao Travel and Tour Expo in SM-Davao. Worth about P1.5 million, the Solidarity Ring would be brought to Davao City under tight security to deter adventurists planning a heist.
We are fully supporting the Kadayawan and the public appearance in Davao City of the Solidarity Ring is our province’s show of symbolic support for Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the Dabawenyos, said Gov. Uy.
Gov. Uy himself would lead the opening of the Solidarity Ring exhibition, its first outside of ComVal. The ring has become a tourist attraction at the capitol in Cabidianan, four kms from Nabunturan, the capital of ComVal.
The Solidarity Ring---unveiled during the First Bulawan Festival in March this year---was the idea of Gov. Uy, as the dust of the 2007 political battle---one of the most violent in the province’s history---settled down, as a symbol of political unity in the province.
The idea was lapped up by Comvalenos, politicians, businessmen, ordinary people, and including smallscale miners in gold-rich Mt. Diwata in Monkayo, who chipped in a gram or two of gold and silver.
Conspicuously displayed at the capitol lobby, the 18-karat two-toned ring with an interior diameter of 5 inches and exterior diameter of 6 inches, made up of 1.18 kilograms of gold of shining finish and 308 grams of 99.9 percent pure silver of diamond finish and weighing 1.488 kilograms, the Solidarity Ring has already accomplished its mission of solidifying ComVal politics.
Last month, the who-is-who in the province’s political landscape---from political kingpin retired Congressman Prospero Amatong to the barangay captains attended the Lakas-CMD assembly where Gov. Uy was elected as provincial party chairman.
And the ring may bring in international attention to the province in the country with the richest gold deposit: the province is now going through the motion of the Solidarity Ring landing in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest and heaviest gold ring.

While symbolic of political unity, the Solidarity Ring also shines as the centerpiece of the province’s biggest asset: gold deposits that changed the lives of the Comvalenos since the precious metal was discovered in the province in the 80s.
The Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences, Minerals News Service in Region XI in a 1998 report said Compostela Valley has gold deposits of 36, 328,699 metric tons of gold, one of the biggest in the world. The largest deposit of 17 million metric tons is found in the municipality of Mabini followed by New Bataan’s 15,594,689 metric tons. In comparison Monkayo, that hosts the Mt. Diwata (Diwalwal) goldfields, has a deposit of only 670,000 metric tons.
In 1997, a technical report of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) cited the strategic economic value of the gold ore at Mt. Diwalwal as easily accessible and with gold concentration of from 25 up to 100 grams per ton, about 25-50 times more than the famous gold ore from the Witwatersrand Basin in the Republic of South Africa.
The Solidarity Ring-- crafted by the husband-and-wife team of Joel and Frellie of GlitterWorks Jewellery at Gaisano Mall in Davao City, also has inspired Gov. Uy to push jewelry making as a major livelihood project in the province. Only recently, the Provincial Board tackled a Memorandum of Agreement between the provincial government and the municipality of Monkayo headed by Mayor Manuel Brillantes Jr. on the Jewelry-Making Training Center that would be built in Monkayo.
Gov. Uy earlier had issued Executive Order No. 3 that would promote jewelry-making as a major industry and make ComVal as the Jewelry Industry Capital of the Philippines. Tapped to help the industry are the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST); and the Diwalwal Artisan Entrepreneurs Cooperative (Darteco) and Compostela Valley Jewelry Makers Association.


Open pit mining placing
ComVal ricelands in danger

The Compostela Valley Provincial Board is investigating a mining firm dumping wastes into a river feeding one of the province’s main irrigation systems.
Board Member Neri Barte urged on Wednesday a probe on Batoto Resources-Philco Mining he alleged dumps wastes into Batoto River, which provides water to the Batoto Irrigation System that serves hundreds of hectares of rice lands in New Bataan and Compostela municipalities.
In a privilege speech, Barte said the mining company has been indiscriminately dumping into Batoto River its wastes from open pit mining operations in Compostela. The company is armed with an exploration permit, but Barte said it is already extracting minerals in full operation even as it is yet to get government permit.
The issue was tossed for investigation to the committee on environment and natural resources chaired by Board Member Moran Takasan and the committee on legal matters headed by Board Member Peter Ruel Gonzaga.
In his speech, Barte said Philco, the original holder of the exploration permit issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), has a history of violating the environment and mining laws. Twenty years ago, he said that Philco, which has now partnered with Batoto Resources, also had been probed by the Provincial Board for causing massive siltation of Batoto River triggering massive damages to hundreds of hectares of rice lands in New Bataan and Compostela which are the province’s major rice producing municipalities.
The two committees would be starting next week the probe on the mining company. The Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) would be invited to shed light on the status of the mining permit of the company. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources would be also asked to attend in wake of reports that BatotoResources-Philco has been issued an exploration permit that also included an area covered by a Community-Based Forestry Management Agreement (CBFMA) issued to a farmer’s group.


AFP, PNP slammed for
growing rebel strength

A member of the Compostela Valley province Provincial Board last week scored the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for the growing strength of rebel movement that has prompted a municipality to declare two barangays under a state of calamity.
The verbal blast of Board Member Neri Barte in the Wednesday session of the Board was sparked by a resolution of the municipal council of Compostela to utilize disaster funds for hundreds of families who evacuated in masse following clashes between rebels and soldiers.
The resolution aims to allow the municipality to release disaster funds to assist the evacuees.
But Barte said declaring a state of calamity in barangays Bermuda and Magayon was a form of surrender to the rebel movement and an admission that the military and police could not stave off the rebels’ growing strength in the province.
He cited reports by military and police that 97 barangays in Compostela Valley are now under heavy influence of the New People’s Army.
This is calamitous! Are we saying that we are now surrendering to the rebels? What are the military and police doing? Barte said who also questioned disaster funds being used for man-made disasters like assistance to victims fleeing rebel-military clashes.
The Board however confirmed the resolution supported by Board Member Josielyn Romano, who said the declaration had been backed by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council and the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office.
Board member Arvin Dexter Lopoz also backed the confirmation saying a Department of Budget and Management (DBM)-Department of Interior Local Government (DILG) joint memorandum had revised rules on declaration of state of calamity that now allows assistance to victims of terrorism, insurgency and other criminal acts.