Antimining group hopeful of Rody’s green policies
ALYANSA Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomes President Duterte’s pronouncements on environment concerns. Specifically, he has directed the review of mining permits and contracts, as well as logging and other environment-sensitive projects. He also assured that these permits and contracts will be amended, suspended or canceled, as needed.
This is consistent with what President Duterte publicly espoused during his presidential campaign. The appointment of environmental advocate Gina Lopez to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources affirms the President’s sincere resolve to address the many issues and concerns plaguing the mining industry.
ATM also welcomes the pronouncement of newly-elected House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that Congress will consider the requirement of a legislative franchise for mining operations. This proposal calls for a review and amendment of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942), which is consistent with our demands.
We, therefore, urge the 17th Congress to consider the proposed mining bills—including the Philippine Mineral Resources Act (House Bill 54 and HB 113 ), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) law and the new fiscal (tax) regime for mining. While we still need to study further the details of the legislative franchise requirement, we believe that this added layer of regulation will benefit all stakeholders, especially mining-affected communities and local government units.
ATM fully supports the initiatives of Secretary Lopez to introduce substantial reforms in the DENR. Mining-affected communities and support groups are ready to engage in the ongoing mining audit. We will contribute in submitting evidence and documents showing violations of mining companies and their abuse of human rights in mining communities, particularly of indigenous peoples. We will participate in the scheduled environmental summits to be held at various island-regions and specific provinces. This is crucial for the DENR to acquire the necessary feedback and peoples’ agenda on preserving and managing our forests and natural resources.
There are several concrete actions that President Duterte and Secretary Lopez can immediately put in effect to fast-track the implementation of the changes in the DENR. Specifically, we recommend:
a) The establishment of a technical working group to study the policy issues and legislative measures that will operationalize the passage of a new mining law, including the requirement of a legislative franchise for mining operations.
b) The issuance of a DENR administrative order clarifying the timeline, parameters and decision-making process of the ongoing mining audit.
c) The review of all pending cases, complaints and petitions at the regional and national mine adjudication boards; this is exceptionally important so that the suspension orders or cancellations of mining permits and contracts stand on strong legal grounds.
ATM is hopeful and optimistic that substantial changes will happen in the mining industry and in the DENR with the policy directions set by President Duterte.
—JAYBEE GARGANERA, national coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina, [email protected]
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