Friday, July 13, 2012


Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:21

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje today said that the new mining policy is a practice in “intergenerational equity” and called it a “hallmark of sustainable development policy of the government.”

Paje said that Executive Order (EO) No. 79, which institutionalizes and implements reforms in the country’s mining sector, considers both economic growth and the environment in its provisions. “It is a balanced law. It allows an extractive industry for national development without sacrificing the environment. At the same time, it shows that we can go for ecological conservation without stifling economic growth,” he stated.

He said that the EO addresses the twin issues of economic and sustainable development through the moratorium on granting new mineral agreements, and through the imposition of revenue-raising measures. This is why the proposed Mining Industry Coordinating Council would be co-chaired by the chairpersons of the cabinet clusters on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and on economic development.

Paje called as “disadvantageous” what government currently gets from the two per cent excise tax on mining activities, considering that minerals are finite, non-renewable resources. If government continued to sign new contracts that are on a 25-year term and renewable for another 25 years, it would “compromise future generations by depriving them of their share of the country’s natural wealth.”

The only way to balance this, he said, is for government to optimize revenues and benefits from mining, and invest these in future generations, such as through infrastructure and construction of school buildings. The revenues would come from increased taxes and imposition of royalties “for government to have a share in what the government actually owns.”

Paje added that the EO will prove that “mining can co-exist with other industries, such as tourism” with the provision on a mining ban in 78 ecotourism sites nationwide identified under the National Tourism Development Plan.

He also noted how the EO has set the bar on improving environmental standards, with provisions on banning the use of mercury, as well as reiteration of limiting small-scale mining activities in declared “minahang bayan” areas as provided for under Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act. A “minahang bayan” would ensure that conflicts with other tenements would be avoided, and would limit haphazard diggings and contain mining wastes that may be detrimental to the health of the community and the environment.

In line with these, the environment chief urged that the 15th Congress would pass the necessary legislations to amend current mining policies, especially those related to revenue-sharing, incentive mechanisms, and penalties. “We hope Congress would understand that we need this kind of policy so that we would not be committing the country and future generations for what is actually a wrong contract between the government and the mining industry,” he said.

If the current congress would not be able to pass the legislations in view of the upcoming local elections, Paje said that he would propose to President Aquino “to certify the bill as urgent or a priority by the next congress.”

For more info:

0 Comment :

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!