Lawmaker: Aquino’s new mining policy is pro-mining firms-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
SENATOR Loren Legarda described President Benigno Aquino III’s new mining policy as crafted by mining companies.
Executive Order 79 seemed to be more favorable to the mining sector taking into consideration only tax revenues derived from mining and politics.
In a press conference here, Legarda said although there are set of policies and the reiteration of the existing laws, still EO 79 is bent to serve the interests of the mining sector.
Legarda visited Cagayan de Oro to lead the regional forum for the collaborative workshop of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin to develop effective risk management strategies.
EO 79 series of 2012 is entitled “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.”
However, advocate of the EO admitted of having a not perfect document, but is already good to start until the Congress will enact a new legislation on mining.
EO 79 upholds the principle of “responsible mining” and a promises a “full enforcement of environmental standards” in mining.
Under EO 79, the “no go” zones where mining is prohibited is expanded. Only protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System law are “no go” for mining explorations.
“The new EO now includes “prime agricultural lands, lands under agrarian reform, tourism development areas, island ecosystems and other critical areas.”
It has also retained the “moratorium” on the granting of new mining agreements until a new Mining Act is enacted.
For her part, the Philippines, according to Legarda, is the world’s most disaster-hit country in 2011 as reported by the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center that cost the country at least P26 billion and displaced 15.3 million people due to natural hazards, including the effects of mining.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin and its tributaries cover a total area of 136,000 hectares, with about 80 percent of its drainage basin located in the province of Bukidnon while the rest in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
The workshop, attended by different local government units, academe, non-government organizations from Northern Mindanao, aims to turn every province, city and municipality disaster-resilient emphasizing the role of cooperation among local governments and stakeholders. ( Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 23, 2012.