(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 8, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – Non-government organization Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is urging the government to endorse the passage of a new mining law that seeks to embody the administration’s thrust of responsible mining in the country.
ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera is hoping to get the endorsement of President Duterte and Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).
“We are asking two things from Secretary Lopez, one is to issue an official statement (of the DENR) endorsing the bill and her presence in committee hearings,” Garganera told The STAR.
ATM said there is an urgent need to pass a new law as issues concerning mining stem from a “flawed and incorrect” law, which is the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
The group is also recommending the inclusion of the bill in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) to be crafted by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“It is a huge thing if the executive (Duterte) itself will issue a statement, and if it will be included in the legislative agenda plus the endorsement of Secretary Lopez,” he said.
The bill, which was crafted with the help of different advocates, is anchored on land and natural resources management and human rights-based approach. It aims to regulate the rational exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources and ensure the equitable sharing of benefits for the state, indigenous peoples and local communities.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, one of the proponents of House Bill 113 or the Lower House version of the AMMB, earlier said there was a need to change the government’s policies if Lopez would want to implement changes in the mining industry.
The AMMB is centered on human rights as a major consideration in the issuance of mining permits. It will also include provisions on the formation of a multi-sectoral council to process permits, as well as areas considered as “no go mining zones,” among others.
The bill also pushes for a strategic and rationalized minerals management plan anchored towards the country’s industrialization roadmap.