MANILA, Philippines – The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Palace’s executive order on mining that are expected to be signed on Tuesday, September 11, will not contain details on the revenue-sharing arrangement between the government and the private sector.
In an interview, Engr. Larry M. Heradez of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said the specifics of the revenue-sharing will be tackled in the next 4 months within such time a Technical Working Group will come up with a proposed bill on the agreement.
“(There is a) seperate technical working group on the revenue sharing. (The) revenue sharing will become a bill,” Heradez said in an interview at the sidelines of the consultations on the mining policy IRR Friday, September 7.
Chamber of Mines Chairman Artemio Disini said the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will meet next week to talk about the revenue-sharing agreement.
Disini said the agreement will be finalized within the prescribed 6-month timeframe after the July 11 publication of Executive Order 79.
“We are finalizing our own position. (Issuance of mining licenses and permits is still) under moratorium. We want to get this resolved so that the moratorium can be lifted and we can contiinue (and go) back to business,” Disini said.
Philex Mining Corp Vice President Mike Toledo said the Philippines’ largest mining firm is keen on supporting the government’s efforts to come up with fair and equitable revenue-sharing.
Toledo said Philex is open to a 50-50 arrangement, but with some “modifications.”
He said that the government must take into consideration that mining firms already pay various taxes to the government such as excise tax and royalty fees. He said some of these fees could be lumped into this revenue-sharing scheme.
“I’m certain that a modus vivendi or an arrangement can be had wherein you will have increased revenue sharing, government will get more from the mining companies but at the same time, we are ensuring that whatever they get from the mining companies, it goes straight to the local governments especially where mining is done,” Toledo said.
Supremacy of national laws
The Philex executive said that apart from the revenue-sharing agreement, consultations on the IRR touched on another contentious issue in the mining EO — the supremacy of national laws over local ordinances.
Toledo said there was an understanding among industry players that government agencies like the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) could file administrative cases against Local Government Units (LGUs) that will violate the Mining Act.
He said these cases can be filed at the Supreme Court and only if no arrangement acceptable to all parties can be arrived at. Toledo said this is a last resort especially if LGUs will not comply with the law.
“The government will be the one to file. It is not the private entity that should be filing the cases, because what the local government is doing, this will be a mandate of the law, a statute, therefore, since you’re disobeying a statute, if you do not follow the orders of the executive of the DILG, they will have no recourse but to go to the courts. So this will be a case that will be filed in the Supreme Court,” Toledo explained.
It can be noted that there are already 14 provinces nationwide that promulgated ordinances, such as open-pit mining bans, that players said violated the Mining Act. These provinces include Mindoro, Romblon, Antique, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Samar, Marinduque, South Cotabato, Bukidnon, La Union, Capiz, and Negros Occidental.
There are also 6 provinces and 2 cities asking for a law to ban mining in their areas. These are Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Romblon, S. Leyte, E. Samar, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao City. – Rappler.com
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