MAC: Mines and Communities

Mgb-6 Asks Anti-mining Groups As Partners In Protection Vs Mining

Published by MAC on 2006-04-12
Source: PIA ()

MGB-6 asks anti-mining groups as partners in protection vs mining

PIA Press Release - http://www.pia.gov.ph/news.asp?fi=p060412.htm&no=20

12th April 2006

Iloilo City -- The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 6 (MGB-6) urges anti mining groups to be government's active partners in ensuring mining companies' compliance with environmental and social commitments as provided for by laws that govern the country's mining industry rather than inciting the people against mining.

"Rather than uniting the people against mining, the government implores various anti-mining groups to be active partners in ensuring the observance of all applicable laws, compliance of economic, environmental and social commitments and respect for the rights of Indigenous People's (IPs) and local communities by mining companies", said MGB 6 Officer-in Charge Engr. Rene B. De la Cruz.

De la Cruz said the MGB 6 also appreciates these concerns and initiatives by various anti-mining groups to protect the environment. "In this way, we can constantly improve the way we manage our precious mineral resources and review existing policies pertaining to environmental and social protection", he added.

Protection of the environment and the people, De la Cruz said is still the government's top priority in its effort to revitalize the country's mining industry. These are given paramount consideration as it is determined to enforce all the environmental safeguards and standards to protect their welfare and the communities as well as the overall ecological stability of the country. This is also to ensure that responsible mining is achieved in the country which is in contrast to past mining practices under the old mining laws that painted a grim picture of the industry.

Now, he explained, the safety and protection of the environment and the people are considered in every stage of a mining activity. These are taken into account by the two major policies governing mining in the country. These are Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Presidential Decree No. 1586 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System.

PD 1856 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System ensures that environmental concerns are adequately addressed in all stages of project implementation. It identifies potential environmental impacts from development activities like mining and provides for mitigative or ameliorative mechanisms to minimize or eliminate such impacts. It also sets the process in obtaining social acceptability.

On the other hand the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) provide the framework for responsible mining wherein at every stage of the projects, the impacts are being guarded.

To further put premium consideration to environmental protection, stringent measures were institutionalized in the Mining Act of 1995 to ensure the compliance of mining contractors/operators to internationally accepted standards of environmental management during the actual mining operation stage.

Also, on the top of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) conditionalities, are other mandatory requirements such as the allocation of an approximately 10 percent of the initial capital expenditures of the mining project for environment-related activities, annual allocation of 3-5 percent of the direct mining and milling costs to implement an Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program, establishment of a Mine Rehabilitation Fund (MRF), and operationalization of a Multipartite Monitoring Team composed of representatives from MGB, DENR Regional Office, affected communities, Indigenous Cultural Communities, an environmental NGO, and the Contractor/Permit Holder, to monitor mining operations.

Socio-economic developments in the project areas are given consideration to by the mining law. It provides that mining contractors/operators shall allocate a minimum of 1 percent of their direct mining and milling costs for the development of the host and neighboring communities and mine camp to promote the general welfare of inhabitants in the area. This includes the construction and maintenance of infrastructures such as roads and bridges, school buildings, housing and recreational facilities, water and power supplies, among others.

De la Cruz said there is probably no other industry in the Philippines that is required to spend for community development than mining, said De Veyra. (PIA)

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