Gov't to earmark P50 million for review of mining projects
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will allocate P50 million to enable the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to undertake a comprehensive review of mining contracts nationwide, starting with those ordered shuttered or suspended last month by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno informed him that the budget for the review would be sourced from the government’s contingency fund.
Dominguez said the MICC, which he co-chairs with DENR Secretary Regina Lopez, will request that it be given a permanent allocation under the succeeding national budget programs of the government, beginning with the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2018.
“This MICC has never been funded so I think for the 2018 budget, we will propose that we will do that,” Dominguez said in a press briefing after the Council’s March 3 meeting.
“It’s been done (with other similar Councils) so we can do it,” he added.
The Finance Secretary said the MICC will start the process of selecting the members of the TRT on Monday.
Dominguez said that it was only proper that the MICC be given a permanent allocation under the national budget given its task under Executive Order No. 79 of reviewing all 311 mining contracts in the country once every two years.
For this year, the MICC last Friday approved the guidelines on the conduct of an “objective, fact-finding, science-based” review of mining operations nationwide, initially covering those ordered closed or suspended by the DENR.
The MICC also decided in its Friday meeting to complete the review to be conducted by five interdisciplinary technical review teams (TRTs) within three months, with primary focus on the technical, legal, social, environmental and economic aspects of the affected mining operations.
Dominguez said the review will be done “in accordance with existing guidelines and parameters set forth in the specific mining contracts concerned and other pertinent laws rules and regulations.”
He said the members of the TRT “shall be qualified, certified or licensed persons in their fields of expertise and experienced in mining operations who shall be independent and have no known conflict of interest.” DMS