Mining review to clarify, not dictate on Gina Lopez—Dominguez
Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III on Tuesday explained that the result of a technical working group (TWG) review on the recent closure of mining companies is not meant to undermine the role of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.
“This is not a question of power over or dictating,” Dominguez told Palace reporters. “It’s a question of clarification in making sure President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s stand in contracts and due process (is) followed.”
During the briefing, Dominguez discussed the TWG, which will be composed of government lawyers, professors and engineers not connected with the mining industry.
He said the second meeting of the group, which was tasked to check if “all issuances (of the Department on Environment and Natural Resources) regarding mining were done (with) due process),” will be held on Friday.
Despite Lopez’s earlier statement that her orders on the closure of mines followed due process, Dominguez said he was sure the Secretary “welcomes the opportunity for the MICC (Mining Industry Coordinating Council) to review the actions that were recommended by her staff.”
READ: DENR shuts down 23 mining areas
Dominguez pointed out that he wants “to make sure that whatever findings she (Lopez) makes sticks.”
“If she cancels a mine, in her judgment the mine violated the law…I want to make sure that when she closes a mine it stays closed,” he said, adding that if it is not the case then the mining company would go to court, open again and file for damages against the illegal closure.
“I want to avoid those. I want to make sure…she’s (on) firm ground. That’s my responsibility as co-chair (of the MICC),” he said, adding that they are in the same team.
Dominguez denied connections with the mining industry, saying he was only involved in mining twice in his life as chief executive officer of a copper smelting company and as part of a team that rehabilitated the mine in Rapu-Rapu.
He said the 5,000 shares of Philex Mining Corp. included in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth are actually owned by his son.
“That was a gift to my son by my mother (when he was born in 1967). And we have not transferred it to his name,” Dominguez said.
“I am not involved in any mine at the moment,” he said.
Dominguez said the TWG might take three months to review all of the contracts.
“At least 75 contracts … have to be reviewed” and the team will have to visit the actual mining sites, he said. RAM/rga
READ: Gina Lopez scraps 75 mine contracts
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.