Mining Council Okays Mining Review Guidelines

Manila Bulletin, March 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Mining Council Okays Mining Review Guidelines


The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has approved the guidelines on the conduct of an "objective, fact-finding, science-based" review of mining operations nationwide, starting with those ordered shuttered or suspended last month by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Co-chaired by Secretaries Carlos Dominguez III of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Regina Lopez of the DENR, the MICC also decided in its Friday meeting to complete the review to be conducted by five interdisciplinary technical review teams (TRTs) within three months, with primary focus on the technical, legal, social, environmental and economic aspects of the affected mining operations.

"The Council approved the guidelines for the conduct of an objective, fact-finding and science-based review of the operations of the mining companies, in accordance with specific mining contracts concerned and other pertinent laws rules and regulations," said Dominguez after the meeting.

Lopez, who was not present at the meeting, was represented by DENR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Maria Paz Luna.

It was the MICC's second meeting since Lopez ordered on Feb. 2 the closure of 23 mine sites and the suspension of five others on environmental grounds. The DENR secretary later cancelled on Feb. 14 about 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) still in the pre-operation stage.

The review, which is mandated under Executive Order No. 79, "will initially cover the 28 mine sites that were recommended for closure and suspension," according to the guidelines approved by the MICC.

In the meeting attended by representatives of various government agencies, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) expressed concern over the high costs of the emergency employment program that had to be immediately put in place to support workers who might be displaced should the DENR 's closure and suspension orders push through.

Joji Aragon, DOLE Assistant Secretary for Legal, Legislative and International Affairs, said the department will look into the impact of the mine closures on employment and job displacement.

Aragon said DOLE is also currently working on a comprehensive transition plan in case the mines are closed.

Local government executives, represented by the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) pointed out that due process was not observed in the issuance of the DENR orders as the governors and mayors in the host provinces, cities and municipalities of the affected mine sites were never consulted about the closure and suspension order s. …

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