February 6, 2017
The Philippine government is assessing the economic impact of a closure and suspension order on 28 mines by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“The national impact, the impact on the GDP—that, of course is a concern. But the people’s welfare is our first concern, “said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in a statement on Monday..
Dominguez also ordered local treasurers to assess revenue impact of mining firms’ closure on local government units affected by the closure or suspension of the mine sites.
Dominguez said he issued the directive because alongside massive loss of jobs and its effect on the national economy, last week's move by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) might imperil the fiscal state of the affected LGUs.
He said mining companies account for a hefty part of the tax revenues collected by local governments in municipalities hosting mine sites.
Dominguez said initially, he had discussed with the heads of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Trade and Industry (DTI) how to address the impact of the DENR move on jobs and LGU revenues in the areas hosting the affected mining projects.
He told reporters during their discussion, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said her department will carry out a census to determine the extent of the jobs displacement, while Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco suggested providing jobs under the government’s national greening program.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III informed Dominguez that emergency employment can be provided to displaced workers but only for a temporary time and in limited volume, while DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said he will pitch in proposals on how to generate jobs in the affected areas.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said he will look into additional projects in communities hardest hit by the closure of mining operations so that jobs for the laid-off workers can be provided under a proposed supplemental budget.
“The Cabinet members are obviously also very concerned about unemployment and people not having income, so we will put our shoulder to the wheel to address that issue first,” Dominguez said.
Preliminary data from the DOF’s Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) show at least 10 municipalities and one city would be affected by the DENR’s order to close down 23 mine sites, while one city and four municipalities would be affected by the suspensions. DMS
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