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House to push for open-pit mining ban

House to push for open-pit mining ban
By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA -- House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is determined to ban open-pit mining following President Rodrigo Duterte's directive against this type of mining during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

During a House ways and means committee hearing on bills establishing the fiscal regime for the mining industry on Thursday, Arroyo proposed a provision prohibiting open-pit mining and imposing excise taxes for such method.

"In other words, our bill will specifically, will explicitly prohibit open-pit mining as defined and give a grace period to be determined by the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) during which they pay the tax that you say will kill the industry," she said.

Arroyo said another provision seeks to impose royalty fees on mining firms operating outside mineral reservations.

The present law requires payment of royalty fees only in mining sites declared as mineral reservations.

Arroyo also ordered the Department of Finance (DOF) to craft its own draft bill within three days' time, otherwise the panel would proceed with its own version.

"Unless DOF communicates with us in three days’ time, we will make our own," she said.

Arroyo learned from her conversation with Filminera Resources Corp. director Gloria Tan Climaco two days ago that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III claimed that the bill proposing a new fiscal regime for the mining sector is not a priority of the DOF, but rather of Arroyo's.

Arroyo stressed that her job as Speaker is to carry out the President's legislative agenda, noting that taxing the industry and banning open-pit mining were mentioned during Duterte's SONA.

"It is the President’s priority as he said in the SONA. Therefore, we will come up with a Mining Bill," Arroyo said.

In his third SONA, Duterte warned the mining industry not to destroy the environment, saying environmental protection is one of his government’s priorities.

“To the mining industry, I say this once again and maybe for the last time: Do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources. Repair what you have mismanaged,” Duterte said.

“Try to change management radically because this time, you will have restrictive policies – a prohibition of open-pit mining is one,” he added.

Duterte exhorted all concerned agencies and local government units to uphold the concept of inter-generational responsibility in the exploration of the country’s mineral resources “anchored on the right to a balanced and healthy ecology.”

“Expect reforms, radical ones. I cannot intend to quarrel with anybody, with the moneyed, but for as long as I am here I said: you will just have to contend with me,” Duterte said. (PNA)

House to push for open-pit mining ban House to push for open-pit mining ban Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 1:56:00 AM Rating: 5

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