Mining reform bill a priority - Purisima
MANILA, Philippines - The mining reform bill is among the list of priority measures that the Aquino administration will push for in the next Congress, according to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
"We're focusing on several bills. The mining, we will push for it," Purisima said in an interview on Rappler's #TalkThursday Monday, April 1.
The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), the agency tasked to finalize the provisions of the bill, aims to finish the draft before the May elections. The Department of Finance and the Department of Trade and Industry are still finalizing a new revenue-sharing scheme between government and mining firms.
The new revenue scheme is one of the contentious provisions of the Aquino administration's mining policy, Executive Order 79.
Before the EO, various mining reform bills were pending in Congress. In the House of Representatives, a consolidated version sought to increase government share in mining revenues to 10% from 2%.
Purisima said raising government's share is in line with their stand on environment protection and responsible mining.
"The revenue sharing has to be clear. We don't want miners laughing all the way to the bank where as we have to carry the burden of an environmental disaster and not getting any amount," he said.
The reform bill is also seen to boost the country's mining industry.
The industry suffered a contraction in 2012 due to the moratorium on applications for mineral production sharing agreement. The moratorium, which was imposed under EO 79, will only be lifted once a new revenue scheme is approved.
Purisima said other provisions of the EO like the no-go areas or areas where mining is prohibited would also be included in the reform bill.
"Mining is good, but... we're trying to define no-go areas," he said.
Visit Rappler on Thursday, April 4, for the full interview. - Rappler.com