Proposed Mining Policy to Clarify Rules of LGUs, National Agencies

Manila Bulletin, February 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Proposed Mining Policy to Clarify Rules of LGUs, National Agencies


MANILA, Philippines - The proposed mining policy being crafted by a government team is intended to clear up mining regulations by integrating local and national government rules through the Provincial Management Regulatory Board (PMRB) and consequently luring more foreign investors to the mining sector.

Instead of driving investors away, the mining policy that is expected to be issued by President Benigno S. Aquino will rather harmonize policies that will make the local mining sector more attractive.

"Some say the mining policy may drive investments away because of stricter rules. But we think it will provide clarity to rules. So it will be a reason for investors to place more money," said MGB Director Leo L. Jasareno in a Philippine Information Agency press briefing.

The PMRB is planned to be the link between local government and the national government. It will enable both the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local government units (LGUs) to co-manage mining operations.

Mining companies, particularly those considered large scale, have earlier asked government to harmonize rules as there have been conflicting policies issued by LGUs that ran in conflict with national policies.

One of these is the issuance of an open pit mining ban by the LGUs of South Cotabato and Zamboanga. National policies through the mining law, though, approves different types of mining operations including those employed by large firms such as open pit mining.

Large-scale mining firms have also asked the government to put small scale mining under the same strict DENR regulations that they are subject to since they claim small- scale mines have been obtrusively destroying the environment.

And that, they claim, is due to the lack of proper monitoring, rules, and penalties on small-scale mines that are imposed by the national government on large scale mines.

However, increased DENR or national government regulations of mining through the PMRB may lead to a more harmonized regulations, permitting process, and potentially reduced corruption in the industry.

"It (Corruption) sometimes happens because not all provinces have PMRB, so PMRBs in all provinces should be organized. …

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