Published February 15, 2017, 10:00 PM By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, yesterday expressed serious concern that local and foreign businessmen would have second thoughts about doing business in the country because the government cannot honor contracts.
PCCI was alarmed after Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez issued a new order cancelling the contracts of 75 more mining projects despite a resolution by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to observe due process and multi-stakeholder review on the earlier closing of 23 mines and suspending 5 others.
“Due process and multi-stakeholder reviews were guaranteed by DENR Secretary Lopez herself and other MICC members just days before the new cancellations orders,” PCCI president George T. Barcelon lamented about DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.
“She herself signed the MICC resolution and now it is not followed.”
“How can a company risk stockholders’ money in projects if the investment rules are unclear and uncertain,” Barcelon said. “Business needs confidence that rulemakers would honor contracts.”
Barcelon has expressed hope President Duterte could consider moving on this issue of due process quickly because investors could put on hold their investments decisions.
He said the resolution of the MICC, which Lopez co-chairs with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, was clear in installing a multi-stakeholder review of the results of DENR audits of compliance with mining rules and regulations.
He recalled that responsible mining companies held a press conference at the PCCI last Friday and even hailed the action of the MICC in installing the due-process mechanism.
The MICC resolution was signed also by the other members of the climate change adaptation and mitigation and economic development clusters of the Cabinet.
In the clusters also were the secretaries of Finance, Budget, National Economic and Development Authority, Trade and Industry, Justice, National Commission on Indigenous People, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines and the Presidential legal counsel.