MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino urged lawmakers to pass a mining reform law that will raise taxes and take care of the environment.
In his 3rd State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23, he said the state is receiving mere 9% of the P145 billion revenues from mining.
“Think about it: In 2010, P145 billion was the total value derived from mining, but only P13.4 billion or 9% went to the national treasury,” he said in his speech before the joint session of both houses.
“These natural resources are yours; it shouldn’t happen that all that’s left to you is a tip after they’re extracted. We are hoping that Congress will work with us and pass a law that will ensure that the environment is cared for, and that the public and private sectors will receive just benefits from this industry,” he added.
He also cited the recently issued Executive Order No. 79 that covers mining issues and long-range considerations.
“We…engaged stakeholders in a level-headed discussion in crafting our Executive Order on mining. The idea behind our consensus we reached: that we be are able to utilize our natural resources to uplift the living conditions of the Filipinos not just of today, also of the following generations,” he said.
“We will not reap the rewards of this industry if the cost is the destruction of nature,” he stressed.
The EO 79 puts a moratorium on all new mining contracts, increases the areas where mining activities are not allowed, and creates a mining council that will lead in further stakeholder discussions.
These inputs will be included in the proposed mining reform bill.
However, Aquino said in a previous interview that pushing the mining reform legislation to extract additional revenues for the state will likely not get an “urgent” stamp, but sin tax reform bill will.
“It (mining reform bill) can wait a little while because there are the two that are more important than this one, at this point in time,” he said in that interview. – Rappler.com
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