Draft mining E.O. waiting for PNoy’s approval

The proposed mining policy suggests the creation of a 'Mining Council'

MANILA, Philippines – The final draft of the much-awaited executive order (E.O.) on mining has been submitted for President Aquino’s approval, executive secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr said.

“This proposed E.O. hopes to strike a balance between interests or supposedly conflicting interests between the mining industry and the environment, among others,” Ochoa said in a press statement released on Tuesday, June 19.

Ochoa said the proposed mining policy, if approved, will harmonize conflicting policies on mining. This is a critical issue. Conflictling national and local policies have resulted in various problems in the industry, including the open mining ban, which had held back some $7.2 billion investment at the gold-copper mining operations in Tampakan in Mindanao.

“Hopefully, we will be able to put some order in approving and in handling mining applications,” Ochoa said.

Mining council

Ochoa revealed that the proposed E.O. suggests the creation of a mining council. He did not elaborate.

President Aquino himself sought for the comprehensive review of the government’s mining policy and the industry’s environmental and economic impacts. He was also concerned with safety issues and the dislocation of indigenous peoples.

Ochoa said the proposed E.O. is a result of consultations with stakeholders.

E.O. not enough

But Ochoa said the E.O. is not enough to address all concerns.

“There are things we cannot cover in the E.O. and can only be achieved through legislation,” he said.

For example, various laws will be needed to “further strengthen the mining industry without compromising the preservation and protection of the environment,” he said.

Ochoa said some suggestions in the proposed E.O. were based on the resolution of the economic and climate change clusters.  – Rappler.com

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