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Ochoa directs MICC, gov’t agencies to implement EO 79

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has directed the newly-created Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) and concerned government agencies to begin implementing the comprehensive reforms in the mining sector under Executive Order No. 79

In separate memoranda issued by Ochoa after President Benigno Aquino III signed the executive order last week, he detailed steps to be taken to effect the new mining policies aimed at addressing environmental mining standards, improving revenue sharing, and promoting social economic development and social growth.

“In his Social Contract with the Filipino People, the President pledged to lead a government that would encourage the sustainable use of resources to benefit the present and future generations of Filipinos,” Ochoa said.

“EO 79 is a policy extension of this commitment, as it lays out directives that will benefit our countrymen in the long-term by putting in place measures that will protect the environment while ensuring that the country gets the maximum economic benefits from mining.”

In his memorandum to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to implement and operationalize the President’s order, Ochoa outlined specific actions to be taken by specific government agencies on issues involving strict enforcement of environmental laws; inventory of social development, management and environment enhancement programs of mining companies; geo-hazard and multi-hazard mapping of areas for mining; determination of the final land use of mining areas once projects are completed, and non-issuance of new mining applications in Palawan, among others.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, who chairs of the Cabinet cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction, on the other hand, was directed to provide alternative livelihood for displaced mining workers; craft mechanisms and guidelines to monitor human and labor rights violations; complete cultural mapping of indigenous people; and ensure proper working and safety conditions within mining areas and nearby communities.

The MICC, which Paje co-chairs with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, has been asked to come up with the rules and guidelines for the update the mineral commodity profile, and conduct studies and build databases on new markets, products, and available technologies aimed at the development of downstream industries and value-adding activities.

Ochoa also instructed the MICC to determine legislative measures that will ensure efficient and effective management of the mining sector and strengthen regulatory rules, and study the existing mechanisms for revenue-sharing, among others.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, head of the Secretariat of the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption cluster, will determine the specific roles of line agencies involved in mining to address their overlapping tasks and functions, as well as explore the possibility of tapping third-party international auditors to validate the volume and value of mineral exports from the Philippines, Ochoa said. #