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Cimatu to propose legislation on open-pit mining
Newly-confirmed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said he would recommend a legislation that would provide clear-cut rules and regulations on open-pit mining, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on October 9.
During his confirmation hearing, Cimatu said that while there was an executive order institutionalizing guidelines in the mining sector, there was no specific law tackling the controversial mining technique that led to the closure of more than half of the country’s mines during the term of former Environment Secretary Regina Lopez, whose appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
Cimatu is set to attend a meeting with the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), where he is co-chair, this week to tackle open-pit mining and the possible ban on the exportation of raw minerals.
“There is an order from the President to ban open pit-mining and we will abide with the instruction of the President. We will also wait for the result of the MICC study,” Cimatu said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Other than supporting the ban, Cimatu has not made his policy direction clear. He said he would need to wait for the results of the reviews of the MICC which were expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) executive director and acting president Ronnie Recidoro said they welcome the confirmation of Cimatu, and agree with the latter’s decision to consult the MICC.
Industry group Alyansa Tigil Mina, however, said they were “frustrated and disappointed” with Cimatu’s confirmation.
“They (CA) want someone who will not rock the boat, and who will continue the ‘business-as-usual’ routine in the DENR,” it added.
Cimatu said decisions from hereon would be “science-based,” and would heavily rely on the MICC. When asked by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato if that would mean no key policies would be expected until the end of the year, Cimatu said yes.