Business confidence remains, says DTI chief
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said he believed business confidence in the country remained despite the controversies arising from recent developments in the mining sector.
Lopez said the adverse impact of these developments on the mining sector had “no spillover effects” on other sectors and the general investment climate in the Philippines.
“Investment policies have not changed. In general, business confidence is still there,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview Thursday.
The comment comes days after Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez cancelled 75 mining contracts involving operations allegedly within watershed areas.
The trade secretary said industrial efforts should be pursued but not at the expense of the environment. However, he said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should “give the affected miners time to respond to the accusations.”
“At least from our end, some of the Cabinet secretaries have expressed to Secretary Gina that the inefficiencies found in the audit should be given time to be corrected. They (mining operations) shouldn’t be closed right away,” he said.
The trade chief is a member of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC). The council said last week that due process would be observed in the review of the operations of the affected mining companies.
The MICC is chaired by the natural resources secretary and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.
Even if the problems were contained in the mining sector, other sectors have raised concern over the issue involving the sanctity of contracts. They said contracts should be honored.
In separate statements issued earlier this week, top officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said that violation of contracts would undermine business confidence.
For its part, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said on Wednesday that it would challenge the decision of the environment chief.