Business seeks OK of new mining revenue-sharing scheme this year
Refinements in EO 79 also proposedBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Makati Business Club (MBC) called on Congress to pass within this year a legislation on the mining revenue-sharing scheme.
It also urged the government to refine the reforms stated in the recently issued Executive Order 79.
The business sector wants the revenue sharing legislation passed immediately to pave the way for the lifting of the moratorium on applications for mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA).
Under the EO, the moratorium on mining applications will only be lifted if a new revenue-sharing scheme is put in place.
The MBC said that further slowdown in the mining sector would affect investments.
On the refinements of the order, the business group urged the government to, for instance, finalize a definitive map that would clearly identify the boundaries of zones not open to mining, or the so-called “no-go” zones as defined in EO 79.
The government should “strongly consider” incorporating into national policy several global best practices, including internationally accepted environmental standards and models on revenue and benefit sharing, the MBC said.
It said the government would do well to consider relevant local and international studies on the matter.
“While the issuance of EO 79 is surely an important step forward to resolving the bottlenecks that have hampered the full development of the Philippine mining industry, MBC expresses its concern over the continuing moratorium on new mining agreements pending the passage of legislation rationalizing the revenue-sharing scheme,” the group said.
There may be good reasons for this moratorium, but it is nevertheless suggested that this be accompanied by President Aquino’s certification of related draft bill as urgent and “by expeditious action by our legislators” for its passage within 2012, according to the business group.
This, MBC said, was for the Philippines to avoid slowdowns to investment inflows that are “crucial” to the country’s aim for inclusive economic growth.
MBC said the government did well to clearly designate “no-go” zones (areas closed to mining), indicate the renewed drive for an improved sharing of revenues, and emphasize the primacy of national laws over local ordinances.
Nevertheless, MBC said, government must introduce further reforms in the interest of having a more comprehensive and holistic national framework on mining, as well as to further improve Philippine competitiveness.
“We believe that the new EO paves the way towards a reformed and responsible mining industry—one that assures the productive exploration, development and utilization of the country’s minerals, while guaranteeing the people’s right to a sustainable environment and a more equitable distribution of wealth,” MBC said.
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