Palace backs Lopez’s min­ing crack­down

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY CATHERINE S. VA­LENTE

MALA­CAÑANG on Wed­nes­day backed the de­ci­sion of En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez to can­cel 75 min­ing con­tracts in­volv­ing wa­ter­sheds, say­ing the move was based on law.

“The can­cel­la­tion of 75 min­eral pro­duc­tion shar­ing agree­ments (MPSAs) by Sec­re­tary Regina Lopez is con­sis­tent with Repub­lic Act (RA) 7942 that min­ing ap­pli­ca­tions are closed to pro­claimed wa­ter­shed for­est re­serves,” pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a state­ment.

RA 7942, or the Philip­pine Min­ing Act of 1995 es­tab­lished a new system of min­eral re­sources ex­plo­ration, devel­op­ment, uti­liza­tion and con­ser­va­tion, and opened the sec­tor to for­eign in­vestors.

Con­tin­u­ing her crack­down on il­le­gal min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try, Lopez on Tues­day or­dered 75 min­ing agree­ments can­celled be­cause the projects are near wa­ter­sheds.

The for­mer en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist ear­lier or­dered the clo­sure of 23 erring min­ing com­pa­nies and the sus­pen­sion of five oth­ers for dam­ag­ing wa­ter­sheds and for “in­dis­crim­i­nate” min­ing.

The Palace of­fi­cial how­ever said the Department of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources

process was fol­lowed.

“[A]s agreed upon in the last gone through due process be­fore en­forc­ing the ap­pli­ca­ble laws, rules

cause or­der for con­cerned min­ing com­pa­nies and they will he added.

Chief Pres­i­den­tial Le­gal Coun­sel Sal­vado Panelo said min­ing re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Un­der the law, there are grounds for can­cel­la­tion. If there is a vi­o­la­tion, what is the vi­o­la­tion that is good ground for can­cel­la­tion, sus­pen­sion or clo­sure? One is non- pay­ment of taxes. Num­ber two, non- de­posit of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion funds re­quired on the min­ing com­pany. So if they did not com­ply with this, they told re­porters by phone.

“The min­ing com­pa­nies will be given due process by the it will ar­bi­trar­ily close any min­ing com­pa­nies... Of course, they have reme­dies un­der the law. -

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