The Daily Manila Shimbun


MICC: DENR closure, suspension orders of mining sites to be reviewed

February 9, 2017

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council decided on Thursday that a review will be conducted on the order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to close 23 metallic mining projects in the country.

The decision was reached after at least four hours of meeting of the MICC co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.

"Pursuant to EO (Executive Order) No. 79, the MICC shall create a multi-stakeholder review and advise the DENR on the performance of existing mining operations in consultation with local government units (LGUs)," read Resolution No. 6 issued by the MICC.

EO 79 pertains to institutionalizing and implementing reforms in the Philippine mining sector providing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources.

The Resolution added the review shall be based on the guidelines and parameters set forth in the specific mining contract and in other pertinent laws, "taking into account the valid exercise of the State's police power to serve the common good, especially of the poor."

"Those found guilty of violating mining contracts, laws and regulations, after observance of due process, shall be meted the appropriate penalty under relevant laws," it added.

The MICC said those adversely affected by any suspension or closure, including displaced workers directly or indirectly employed by mining contractors shall be assisted through the government's livelihood and employment transition plan.

Lopez has ordered the closure of 23 mining firms and suspension of five others for violations of mining laws and for being located on the watershed areas.

Contrary to claims of the mining industry there were about 1.2 million people who could be affected directly and indirectly over the closure of the mining projects, Lopez has said that in the third quarter of 2016, there were only 219,000 people employed in the mining sector, including those in quarrying. Celerina Monte/DMS