PH moving further away from ‘responsible mining’

Published June 9, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government’s recent mining policies appear to have weakened the protective and accountability elements of regulating mining in the Philippines.

This is according to Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), which expressed dismay over new mining policies being pushed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

“We don’t think these are the steps forward that will bring us closer to responsible mining as this Duterte administration wants us to believe,” ATM said.

Furthermore, ATM feared these orders will result in more deforestation and rapid land-use changes, which in turn will increase the geohazard risks and contribute to climate change and pandemics.

ATM was particularly referring to the Executive (EO) 130, along with the various memorandum circulars of the DENR and MGB, that will effectively fast-track the approval of more mining projects, covering wider areas of mining tenements.

Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in April, EO 130 lifted the nine-year ban on new mining projects. It will also result in the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining method.

Then there was also the reversal of the closure and suspension orders against erring mining companies that were issued by former and late Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez.

Just on Tuesday, it was also revealed that DENR is set to issue an administrative order that will allow the automatic renewal of the exploration period in potential mining areas in the country.

In reaction to this, ATM said “it is so obvious that our leaders, especially from the DENR and the MGB, have failed to grasp the lessons from this pandemic”.

“And we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes of allowing more destructive mining projects in the Philippines,” ATM further said.

 
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