DENR, MICC mining reviews to be ‘harmonized,’ says Cimatu
MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Tuesday, February 6, that his department has not yet completed its review of closed and suspended mining operations as they were waiting for the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to finish its own review.
"The reason…is to harmonize the result of their audit versus the style of audit also made by the DENR, para hindi magkaiba-iba kung ano 'yung ginagawa nila rito sa isang audit team versus our audit team. Dapat ma-harmonize 'yan so that kung ano ang standard or whatever is the findings ay magkapareho dapat. May standard naman kasi na sinusundan," Cimatu said in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
(The reason is to harmonize the result of their audit versus the style of audit also made by the DENR, so that there's no conflict between what one audit team is doing versus what our audit team is doing. We have to harmonize that so that the standards or whatever are the findings will be the same. We follow standards.)
Cimatu said they're expecting to complete their review by March.
According to him, they want to harmonize "subjective decisions," such as the penalties to be imposed on companies with violations.
"Katulad 'yung cutting of the trees, for example, sa amin dito, 'Give them 3 months,' tapos [sa MICC] 6 months – mag-harmonize lang naman (Like in the cutting of the trees, for example, if we say, 'Give them 3 months,' and the MICC says 6 months, we'll have to harmonize that)," Cimatu explained.
The environment secretary said the Pollution Adjudication Board will be "the one to give the penalties.”
Asked if the department will impose penalties instead of cancelling mining permits as a result of the review, Cimatu said this is "a possibility that can happen."
The environment department is currently reviewing the suspension and closure orders of former environment secretary Gina Lopez.
Some of the mining operations filed motions for reconsideration, while others appealed the decision before the Office of the President. – Rappler.com