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Latest mining policies makes environmental protection mandatory at all stages of mining process, DENR Usec says

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY   Several new policies have been issued by the DENR to make environmental protection and management mandatory in all stages of the mining process, Environment Undersecretary Jeremias Dolino said when he graced the 1st Regional Mining Stakeholders Forum in Tacloban City, recently.

For the mining sector to grow and prosper, mining should now be anchored on the principles of sustainable development to ensure that the economic, environmental and social concerns of mining operations would be addressed, the Undersecretary said.

DENR Memorandum Circular 2010-14 strengthens public participation in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process of environmentally critical projects such as mining. Local government units have also been given representation in the Minerals Development Council to encourage their participation in promoting and developing socially responsible mining in the country through Executive Order No. 469-A.

The Undersecretary also informed the participants of the Mining Stakeholders Forum about a DENR-DOF-DBM-DILG Joint Circular signed on June 25 this year which revises the guidelines on the release of the share of LGUs derived by the national government from royalty income collected from mineral reservations.

The Joint Circular reiterates the 40% revenue share of LGUs. From this, 20% goes to the province, 45% for the component city or municipality and 35% for the host barangay.

Meanwhile, highly urbanized cities where the natural resources are located gets a 65% share, while the remaining 35% goes to the host barangay.

Another positive development that would benefit LGUs and other stakeholders is the issuance of DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-13 this year.

The DAO requires a mining permit holder/lessee to allot annually a minimum of 1.5% of their operating costs for community development implementation and provide funds for information, education and communication campaigns.

Usec Dolino said that mining has been identified by our government as one of the major focus areas of economic activity.

He revealed that the latest mining statistics as of July 28, 2010 show that taxes, fees and royalties from mining nationwide amount to 9.175 billion pesos.

He was quick to admit, however that the mining industry in the country still faces strong opposition from anti-mining groups. Various oppositions to mining have stalled the upward growth of the industry, he laments.  Several NGOs, the church, academe, indigenous peoples and even some local government units have expressed very strong sentiments against mining, he added.  Usec Dolino cited that even in Region 8, the provinces of Eastern Samar and Samar have issued a 50-year moratorium on large scale mining.