Malacanang postpones issuing final mining EO

Rappler.com
Malacanang has deferred the issuance of an executive order on new mining policies to provide more time for stakeholder consultations

MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang has deferred the issuance of an executive order on new mining policies to provide more time for stakeholder consultations, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Wednesday, February 29.

This mining EO has created an uproar among mining players and investment advocates after a draft was leaked. The draft version requires a review of resource contracts, tighter rules and cutting of tax breaks.  

On Tuesday, February 28, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje told Malaya that his department has “fine-tuned” the government’s draft mining policy, which is now ready for approval of President Aquino.

Malacanang was supposed to release the final EO on Wednesday.

Ochoa said that Malacanang is aware of the concerns about the EO, which is why “the new mining policies will be issued after we obtain the necessary input from the sectors involved and after a thorough and exhaustive assessment of the impact of these directives.”

Ochoa cited the “weighty issues involved and the significant impact the mining industry has on the welfare of our people and the environment.”

“We are at present conducting additional consultations with industry stakeholders so we can adopt directives that take into consideration the interests of all those affected by the mining industry–especially the communities directly affected by mining operations–consistent with existing laws, regulations and strict environmental standards,” Ochoa said.

In a news briefing also on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that while the President’s deadline was not met, a final EO is being ironed out “taking into mind the considerations of the stakeholders.”

“It’s something we know will affect investments in the mining industry. So that really has to be carried out very, very carefully,” he said.

Lacierda said that the economic managers have submitted their inputs to Ochoa.

Major business groups, including the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), have earlier expressed concern over the possible damaging impact of the EO, but Palace officials have  urged them to await the final EO before judging it. 

On Friday, March 2, representatives of pro- and anti-mining groups are set to face-off in a forum in Makati City. – Rappler.com

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