Section 3 article x of the constitution mandated

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Section 3, Article X of the Constitution mandated Congress to “enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, and allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization an operation of the local units.” Clearly, the Local Government Code did not fully devolve the enforcement of the small- scale mining law to the provincial government, as its enforcement is subject to the supervision control and review of the DENR, which is in charge, subject to law and higher authority, of carrying out the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization of the country’s natural resources. Section 17 (b)(3)(iii) of the Local Government Code of 1991 is in harmony with R.A. No. 7076 or the Peo ples’ Small -Scale Mining Act of 1991 , which established a
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 130 People’s Small -Scale Mining Program to be implemented by the Secretary of the DENR. DENR Administrative Order No. 23, otherwise known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 , adopted on August 15, 1995, provided under Section 123 thereof that small-scale mining applications should be filed with the PMRB and the corresponding permits shall be issued by the Provincial Governor, except small-scale mining applications within the mineral reservations. Thereafter, DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40, otherwise known as the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 , adopted in December 19, 1996, provides that applications for Small- Scale Mining Permits shall be filed with the Provincial Governor/City Mayor through the concerned Provincial/City Mining Regulatory Board for areas outside the Mineral Reservation and with the Director through the Bureau for areas within the Mineral Reservation. Moreover, it provides that Local Government Units shall, in coordination with the Bureau/ Regional Office(s) and subject to valid and existing mining rights, “approve application for small-scale mining, sand and gravel, quarry x x x and gravel permits not exceeding five (5) hectares.” Petitioner contends that the Local Government Code of 1991, R.A. No. 7076, DENR Administrative Orders Nos. 95-23 and 96-40 granted the DENR Secretary the broad statutory power of control, but did not confer upon the respondents DENR and DENR Secretary the power to reverse, abrogate, nullify, void, cancel the permits issued by the Provincial Governor or small-scale mining contracts entered into by the Board.
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