MANILA, Philippines – The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) opposes the proposed People’s Mineral Resources Act arguing that the proposed bill would render the country’s national mining law useless.
In a statement yesterday, the COMP said the proposed People’s Mineral Resources Act set to be filed in the incoming Congress is “designed to kill the responsible mining industry in the Philippines” even though there is no need to repeal the existing Mining Act of 1995.
Citing a paper written by COMP vice president for Legal and Policy Ronald Recidoro, the mining group said the Mining Act or Republic Act 7942 “is a world-class piece of legislation that already balances the interests not only of the mining industry and the State, but also fully considers the rights of host communities, indigenous peoples, and the environment.”
Recidoro said the 1995 Mining Act is able to address the concerns of the bill’s proponents.
He noted that the Mining Act and its implementing rules and regulations provide an environmental protection plan that more than adequately addresses the perceived environmental concerns.
He also said the proposals of the so-called alternative mining bill, run contrary to the principle of state ownership of all natural resources in the Constitution.
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This as the “collective private ownership” by indigenous cultural communities of all mineral resources found within their claimed ancestral lands proposed by the bill would place substantial portions of the Philippines outside the scope of the Philippine Constitution.
The COMP also raised concerns over the bill’s proposal to raise the government’s share in mining to 10 percent from two percent of gross revenues citing that such is uncompetitive and discouraged investments in the sector.
The COMP likewise opposed other proposals of the bill such as the cancellation of all mining permits, including exploration permits, as well as the plan to turn the Mines and Geosciences Bureau from government regulator to a scientific research institution limited to exploration, monitoring and regulation of mining operations.
The COMP also does not support other proposals of the bill such as the prohibition on subsequent transfers of mining rights; shortening the term of mineral agreements, the removal of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for miners, and prohibition on full foreign participation in mining.
As the COMP has concerns on the proposals, Recidoro said there is a need for further consultations and interaction between government policy-makers and the private sector.
“Given the complexity of the issue, there is also a need to undertake an in-depth review of the current mining regime to help ensure that the country’s benefits from its finite mineral resources and translates into sustainable wealth that will benefit future generations,” he said further.