Palace OKs changes to rules in mining EOBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
President Benigno Aquino on Thursday approved the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order No. 79 that sought to address concerns raised by mining industry players.
The revisions crafted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) sought to clarify controversial provisions of EO 79, which defines the administration’s mining policy reforms, Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang said last night.
All the revisions to the EO the MICC submitted to the President were approved. Section 7, however, was “reworded” on the President’s orders, said Carandang, a member of the MICC.
That particular section allows the expansion of mining areas in cases where a “failure to expand would lead to economic dislocation,” said Carandang.
“For example there’s a moratorium in expanding the mining areas. But in cases where failure to allow expansion could cause dislocation or have negative economic consequences, we will allow that, such as in the case of cement companies,” Carandang told reporters Thursday night.
The revisions covered the terms for expired mining tenements; the grant of mineral agreements pending new mining legislation, and the opening of areas to mining through public bidding.
But on the controversial 25-year contract term provision, Carandang said the amended rules do not provide for “automatic renewal” and automatic rebidding, as in the past.
“There’s a period for review and there’s an opt-out period for both sides. And that’s always been the case,” he said.
The controversial IRRs were suspended after the mining industry clamored for the clarification of these provisions. The rules were supposed to take effect on Sept. 29.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines had earlier questioned Section 9 of the EO. The provision imposes a bidding when renewing mining contracts after the first 25 years of a tenement.
With the revisions, the MICC—which is headed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima—hoped the industry players were clarified on the IRR provisions that that they had said were ambiguous. The revisions were final and would be effective 15 days after publication, Carandang said.
The President issued EO 79 in July in a bid to boost government revenue from the mining sector while increasing environmental safeguards.